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This volume is a contribution to the history of the Wes 
leyan Methodist Church in Victoria. The authors, years ago, 
saw the importance of preserving documents and records, 
which would give authentic data concerning the early times 
of this Church. In the year 1881, the Victoria and 
Tasmania Conference directed them to collect such 
materials, and this request was repeated by the General 
Conference of the Australasian Wesley an Methodist Church. 
That trust has been considered a positive and sacred duty 
by them, and they have fulfilled it with some success, 
having been largely aided by numerous friends and Circuit 
authorities, who possessed such records. They sought also 
to obtain oi'al or written statements from such of the early 
pioneers who survive to the present time, and they are 
greatly indebted for such information kindly given by the 
Revs. W. Butters, J. Harcourt, J. C. Symons, M. Dyson, 
and Messrs. Witton, Beaver, Stone, the Tuckfield family, 
Mrs. Caldwell (formerly Mrs. Hurst), and many others. 
Their obligation is greatest of all to the representatives 
of the late Rev. Joseph Orton, for the loan of his manu- 
script journals, which are full of important materials 
relating to the founding of Methodism in South Australia 
and Victoria. 


The collection of records, etc., was an official duty, but 
the writing and publishing of this book is a private under- 
taking, so that the Wesley an Conference is not to be considered 
as having given its imprimatur to it ; at the same time it 
is believed, that the members of the Conference and of the 
whole Church look with favour upon the issue of such a 
book ; and it is hoped that the public generally wall concur 
in tliis view. The Christian enterprise of the "Wesleyan 
Church in this land deserves a permanent and appropriate 
record, whether this volume be an adequate representation 
of it or not. The sons and daughters of Methodism 
would not willingly allow the work of God in the rise 
and progress of their Church to pass from their memory, 
or go into oblivion. This book is an attempt to embalm 
and preserve some of the vital facts and salient features 
of its story. The Jubilee year seemed an opportune time 
for its issue. Then especially the grateful Methodist heart 
eagerly devoured accounts from the lips, or records from 
the press, which told of the mighty works that God had 
done for their fathers, and " in the old time before them," as 
tending to make their joy the more intelligent and deep. 
So this book is designed to make the strains of grateful joy 
the more abiding, as it may aid not only the present, but 
another generation to show forth the " high praises of 
God." The volume is, therefore, a Jubilee Memorial, and 
an offering to the Methodist public. 

Like the Banyan tree, whose branches spread out, then 
incline towards, and eventually reach, the earth, where they 
strike root until vigorous offshoots become both a progeny 
and support to the parent stock, so there are innate forces 
in Methodism which cause it to spread out in all directions, 
till a cluster of Churches is formed, in time becoming self- 

supporting, but yet maintaining a vital and glad connection 
with the parent Church. The truth of this has been 
verified and illustrated in this land. 

The plain narrative of this growth is given in this volume. 
The authors are not historians, but more like annalists They 
have not exhaustively studied the facts, interrogated the 
spirit, and deduced the important lessons, which Methodism 
in this land presents to the historian. They have compiled 
and put into a succinct form the facts and annals of the early 
Methodist story. Their plan has been, of set purpose, to be 
full when writing about the first and pioneer work of the 
Church, but to be brief and summary when relating its 
more recent achievements. They could not enlarge upon 
the recent, as they felt at liberty to do upon the earlier 
story. The work was too delicate, and the perspective too 
near for them to attempt it. They preferred sketching the 
more distant landscape, and have dealt with the nearer 
foreground in a few outlines. This may be disappointing 
to some, but worthy deeds and lives in recent years will 
be dealt with in due time, when we are considerably 
older, but by other hands than the writers of this volume. 

This work seeks to fulfil in respect to Victorian 

Methodism, the inspired injunction, " Walk about Zion, 

and go round about her ; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye 

well her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; that ye may tell 

it to the generation following. For this God is our God 

for ever and ever." 

W. L. B. 

J, B. S. 




First Advances 


Gold AND Change 


Precursors OF Revival 


Church Institutions, Movements, 
Memorials (1S63-85.) 

Suburban Methodism 

Geelong and Ballarat District ... 

Castlemaine and Sandhurst Dist. 

Maldon, Maryborough, and Adja- 
cent Cikcuits 

Sandhurst Circuit ... 

Kyneton and Daylesford Circuits 

The Dunolly and Tabnagulla, and 
Inglewood Circuits 

Northern Areas.— The St. Arnaud 
Charlton, Echuca, and other 


Western District 

Ovens and Murray District 

Nobth-Western Circuits 

Missions AND Miscellaneous 


Appendix, Table A 

B ... 
Errata ... 


. I. P£¥ 































„ XVII. 




„ XIX. 


„ XX. 


„ XXI. 

„ 285 

„ XXII. 









Jtfi Origin and iii.storn. 



THE chronicle of \yesleyan ]\Iethoclisin dates back to 
the year 1739. The rise and organization of the 
United Societies which developed into the Wesleyan Church 
beiran with the crisis in the religious history of the Revs. 
John and Charles Wesley, when they clearly apprehended 
the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone in 
Christ Jesus our Lord, and entered into the expei'ience 
of a conscious salvation ; and when with fervent zeal they 
preached such doctrine and life unto others. The gei-m of 
the whole body of Christian life and activity found in the 
widespread Methodism of the several continents may be 
found there. God gave it life, and that life has formed its 
own body of a compact, well constructed, vigorous organism, 
or Church, which is known in the world as Wesleyan 
Methodism. And yet also, the form it now possesses, the 
functions it now fultils, and the V>]essing which it now works, 
are owing to the constant Providence of God, and the ever 
present grace of the Holy Ghost. Far be it from us unduly 
to vaunt the agency of man, but we give the praise of the 
good that is done on earth wholly to the Lord our God. 


The great Head of the Church, however, has deigned to 
bless the Scriptural teaching, and the enthusiastic zeal in 
the cause of Christ, of the Wesleys, their helpers, and their 
successors ; and it is the story of that blessing as it has 
unfolded and exhibited itself in one province of the Southern 
World that we purpose to write. 

The principal events in the Methodist Calendar are the 
Conversion of John and Charles "Wesley, their open air 
preaching, and the formation of the first societies ; the 
organization and enrohuent, by the Deed of Declaration, 
of the Methodist pastorate as having oversight of the 
Methodist Societies ; the calling into activity of so many 
agencies and institutions wiiich are somewhat, yet not 
altogether, peculiar to Methodism, such as the Local 
Preacher, the Leader, the Class Meeting, the Lovefeast, Jcc; 
the death of John Wesley and the transition of the societies 
into a distinct Church having all the marks, privileges, and 
ordinances thereof; and the epoch of the formation of the 
Missionary Society in 1^1 3. The era of its missions does not 
date from that year, for Methodism was essentially Mission- 
ary from the tirst. Its lirst puVilic collection in the Conference 
at Leeds, in 1769, and its tirst agents sent l>eyond the 
British Islands, Messrs. IJoardman and Pilmour, mark, 
however, the beginning of its Foreign Missions. Those 
missions were for a long time under the charge of Dr. Coke, 
who brought to the fostering care of them a sublime self- 
denial, and a tireless activity of oversight truly Aj>ostolic, 
But, just subsequent to his decease and the iiiiiuediate 
formation of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, 
came the event, which is marked in the Methodist Calendar 
in this hemisphere, as the founding of Rome in hers, 
the birth of Australian Methodism, the founding of that 
Church in these fair lands. The Rev. Samuel Leigh, our 
devoted pioneer, was the tirst authorized Methodist agent 
sent to these shores by that Missionary Society, and he 
landed in Sydney in 1S1.'>. From his laboui-s and those 
of his immediate fellow-helpers sprang the early Methodism 


of New South Wales and Tasmania. Victorian Methodism 
is the child of these parents. 

The boy has grown, and it is our duty to tell of his 
growth into lusty manhood, and to speak to the generations 
to come of the wonderful works of God in his nurture and 
blessing. Some details of his early story may appear to 
others as tri^-ial, but they will not be so to the children 
that owe so much to him. They will prize the smaller 
incidents that may be preserved from oblivion, even as they 
treasure the stick, or the fly, whose life was centuries ago, 
that may be preserved in amber. But the great principles 
of the Gospel as they are illustrated in this story, are the 
heritage of the whole Christian Church, and many will 
delight to know how they had form and development, idea 
and embodiment in the rise and progress of Victorian 

A colonising and convict element fused somewhat 
together in the early days of the older colonies. Wool, 
grain, and gold, have been leading motors in the settlement, 
both of the older and the younger colonies. Victoria owes 
most to the avooI and gold. These brought to the land a 
hardy and adventurous race, who settling at first on the 
Southern and Western coasts, eventually overspread the 
whole land. Of the immigrants, most were of the steady 
habits and colonizing instincts that mark the Anglo-Saxon 
race ; and religion, if it assumed not the stern type of the 
Puritans in New England, had yet a home and welcome 
amongst them, and toned down the rough asperities, and 
developed the better elements, of colonial life. Methodism 
had a mission to them from the first, and has been a prime 
factor in what is best and noblest in Colonial history, and 
the national life. There was a much smaller portion of 
society that had the convict taint in it than in adjacent 
lands to the South and North. The number of these 
persons grew beautifully less as the days passed on, but 
they were not despised by the Methodist agent, who, by his 
hopeful theology, Christian zeal, and Divine charity, sought 


to raise them; and, happily, many jewels were plucked out 
of the mire by his instrumentality, and many outcast 
pariahs of society were brought into the family and fold 
of God. 



The rise of this Church is not lost in antiquity. Its 
sources are not like those of the Nile, unknown or 
matter of dispute, because shrouded in the dim distance. 
Facts, figures, names, events, are given to particularize the 
origin and advance of this Church in very modern times— 
Avithin the present century. Wesleyan :Methodism in 
Victoria is coeval with the founding of the colony. The 
first settlement of whites took place when :Messi's. Edwaiil 
and Stephen Henty landed at Portland Bay in November, 

1834, with servants and stock of cattle and sheep. But 
that settlement had no such history and made no progress 
like to those pertaining to that City which, founded a little 
later, hits long ago eclipsed the other place in all material 
growth and prosperity. Mr. J. P. Fawkner's party wjis 
the first to settle on the site of ^lelbourne. The vessel 
Enterprise with these settlers and founders of the colony 
on board, arrived in the Yarra on 2'Jth or 30th of August, 

1835, and forthwith they occupied the river bank and the 
adjacent slopes of land on which now is found the magnifi- 
cent City of Melbourne. But the infant settlement hatl 
only two weatherboard houses, eight or ten sod huts 
and tents occupied by about fifty persons, as the whole 
strength of the white population, at the end of 1835. The 
infant City of that time gave but small augury or prophecy 
of the giant it has become. 

That year, 1835, witnessed the first religious service 
conducted by Methodists, owing to the zeal of a remarkable 


man who has left his mark upon the religious history of 
Tasmania, and also upon certain places and classes in 
England. Henry Reed, Esq., then a zealous Local 
Preacher in Tasmania, having the welfare of the native 
population in view, went over to Port Philip in 1835 with 
one of the earliest bands of settlers, and in one of the only 
two sod huts that had then been extemporised for shelter, 
read and expounded a portion of Sacred Scripture, and 
offered prayer to Almighty God. The congregation had in 
it Williain Buckley, the escaped convict, who, as most 
readers of Colonial history know, had been li\*ing in a state 
of wildness and barbarism with the natives for over 
thirty years ; the brother of Mr. John Batman (who 
afterwards, we believe, became the chief constable of the 
settlement); and three natives from Sydney, who but 
imperfectly understood the English language. Such was 
the beginning of Methodist work in Victoria. It was but 
a feeble effort, and Mr. Reed's was but a short visit, but 
that service, even though it was of the nature of family 
prayer, dates the first of many that Wesleyans have held in 
this Colony, and was the earliest attempt to bring the land, 
and both its white and dark-skinned people, to the feet of 
King Jesus. Mr. Reed's sole object in \'isiting the country 
was to try to be useful to the natives and the few English 
people who were there. A like benevolent motive — to 
Christianize the natives, and preserve them from destruction 
by any demoralizing influence that might be brought by 
the Colonists — prompted the visit to Melbourne of the Rev. 
Joseph Orton, in the following year. His voyage across 
Bass Straits was a prolonged and unpleasant one in a small 
craft. The weather was rough, and the tossing of the 
vessel caused sickness amongst the passengers, and great 
loss amongst the cattle that were on board. Mr. Orton, 
because of efflu^'ia from dying and dead cattle, which, 
through stress of weather, could not be thrown overboard, 
was necessitated to keep on deck through the ten days of 
the lengthened passage, subject to the Avorst sickness, 


inconvenience, and annoyance that he had known on 
ship board. He sailed up the River Yarra on April 20th. 
This is his account of the services held on Sabbath, 
April 24th, 1836. 

"Sunday, 24th April. — At eleven o'clock the people of 
the settlement were assembled for Divine ser\-ice . 
. . [This w\as on Batman's Hill, and on the premises of 
Mr. John Batman. The liturgy was read by Mr. Orton, the 
responses were led by James Simpson, Esq. The tunes 
were raised by Dr. Thomson, afterwards of Geelong.] 

"I addressed the company from the young ruler's question, 
' What shall I do to inherit eternal life T At the conclusion 
of my discourse I took occasion to show the propi-iety of a 
consistent depoitment on the pai-t of the European settlei-s 
in the new settlement, especially enjoining them to 
acknowledge God in all their ways, that they might insure 
the divine blessing with their undertaking, other>nse they 
might expect His curse with all they undertook. 

" In the afternoon the people again assembled, to wliouj 
I preached from John i. 12. The number of Europeans 
was greater than in the morning, l)ut the largei" proportion 
of my congregation consisted of natives — about fifty — who 
sat very quietly, and seemed particularly interested by the 
singing. I took the opportunity to make an appeal to the 
intelligent part of my audience on behalf of these poor 
degraded creatures, among whom they have come to ivside, 
and wliose land (which is comparatively flowing N\"ith milk 
and honey) they have come to possess, endeavouring to 
show their incumbent duty, on tlie principle of common 
equity, to use all means to promote tlieir temponil and 
spiritual welfare. 

"I have not been more interested by any siglit thantlie 
one presented this afternoon. ^My soul truly went out 
after their best interests ; I felt as if I could have sacrificed 
every personal comfort for their l)enefit : I longed to l>e 
able to communicate my views and feelings to them. I 
could but anticipate the happy time when tliese poor 


creatures, degraded below the brute, will come to a know- 
ledge of the truth. 

" Several of what is called the Jagger Jagger tribe came 
in from a hunting excursion, and lirought news that more 
would be in soon. One of those who came in to-day is one 
of the chiefs with whom Mr. Batman tirst had an interview 
upon landing, and with whom he entered into a treaty for 
a certain portion of land. The treaty will be nullified, I 
apprehend, by the British Government, as forming a bad 

This is creditable to the heart of the good minister. 
His compassion was for some of the blackest, and his 
yearning over some of the most degraded, of the human 
race. Buckley "s account given to Mr. Orton stated that 
the natives, upon occasion, ate their own offspring. Here 
certainly Methodism was going, in the person of her 
representative, according to the injunction of Mr. ^yesley 
himself to his helpers, " not to those who want you, but to 
those who want you most." This religious concern for the 
natives brought over the first layman and the first minister 
who conducted public service in the new settlement, and it 
Ijrought from England the first two ministers of the 
"Wesleyan Church, who took xip their abode in the land. 
This seed sowing had a larger harvest in the course of time 
among the whites, but had some fruit also among these 
sable sons of the soil, whose land was coveted by the early 
settlers, but whose salvation was sought by these first agents 
of the Gospel. 

The representations made by the Rev. Mr. Ortou 
induced the Wesleyan Missionary Society in London to 
appoint the Rev. Benj. Hurst and the Rev. F. Tuckfield, as 
the pioneers of a Mission to the Aborigines of the land. 

The memorandum concerning the rise of Wesleyan 
Methodism in Melbourne which is entered in the minute 
book of the Melbourne quarterly meeting, states " The 
nucleus of the Wesleyan Methodist Society was formed by 
a few memljers who emigrated from Tasmania about tlie 


latter end of 1S36 and the beginning of 1837, consisting of 
Mr. George Lilly, Mr. J. S. Peers, Mr. W. Witton, and a few 
others, who, after their landing on these slioi-es, availed 
themselves of the advantages of Christian Communion, 
for which purposes, as well as for holding pi-ayer meetings 
and other religious services, they met at stated periods 
in a wattle and daub hut. Soon after the arrival of 
Mr. W. Witton, in March, 1S37, by mutual consent 
he was appointed to take charge of the members, 
then seven in number, of which he became their recognised 

Messrs. Lilly and Peers occupied \ery respectable 
positions in social life. 

Mr. Peers was an enthusiast in music. He led the 
singing at the first Wesleyan Church erected in the 
colony, a small brick building 30 x 16 at the corner of 
Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, of which he bore the 
tirst outlay of expense, stipulating only that he should l>e 
repaid when the congregation moved to move commo<lious 
premises. He was leader also of the choir in the small 
Church constructed of weatherboard, "JOft. by 16ft., which 
was the tirst building used for worship by the Church of 
England, and which stood on the site since occupied by 
St. James' Church. Amongst his helper.^ were Messrs. 
John Caultield, Mr. Edward Peers, and Mr. John Sutch. 
Afterwards he had a similar olfi?e in the Wesleyan 
Sanctuary erected in Collins Street ; and, mainly through 
his exertions, a large and effective choir was formed, a 
harmonium procured, and afterwards a fine organ which 
long remained the l>e5t in the colony. Tliis was presided 
over by Mr. Clark, senr., afterwards gold broker. 

At or about the time of the erection of the Wesleyan 
Church in 1838, the following were active members of the 
Church or congregation. The gentlemen named in the 
above extract from the minute book, also Mr. E. Peers, 
Mr. Thomas Jennings, Mr. Ralph Walton, Mr. Overton, 
Mr. James Candy, Mr. Howell, afterwards of Geelong, 


Mr. Charles Stone, 'Sh: John Burgess. Mr. Thomas Watson, 
Mr. John Lobb, Mr. James Fenton, Mr. T. Trotman. 
Several of these did good ser^•ice to the Wesleyan Church 
for years subsequently. Mr. Charles Stone {-who came in 
Septemljer, 1838) is the only survivor of these worthy 
fathers of Victorian Methodism last named. Shortly after 
Mr. Thomas Wilkinson must have joined the godly band. 
He had been a devoted 'woi-ker in the East end of London 
for many yeai-s, subsequently a fellow -worker with Mr. 
Henry Reed, of Launceston, in his efforts to convert and 
Christianize the degi-aded convicts of Tasmania. He could 
tell many a thiilHng tale of human depra^■ity, but also of 
brutalized humanity changed by the power of the Gospel. 
He l»ecame a pioneer of Methodism in Portland, a memljer 
of the Legislative Assembly of the colony, and a gi-and old 
veteran of Christ "s cause in Brunswick, where in 1881 he 
peacefully died. 

The first class was held in !Mr. Witton's house, situate 
in Lonsdale Street. A prayer meeting was eai-ly held in 
T. Trotman 's house, south of the Yarra. These ordinances 
were kept up by these earnest men. On the Sabbath day, if 
no Local Preacher could officiate, they worshipped with other 
congregations of CTiristians. A Sabbath school was formed 
at an early date, in which some of the first teachers were 
Miss Howell, afterwai-ds Mrs. Silas Harding, of Geelong, 
Miss WOkinson, daughter of Mr. Thomas Wilkinson, and 
Messi-s. Peers, Trotman, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The fii'st 
school building was a rude structure at the end of Russell- 
Street, near the Yarra bank. When open some months it 
had but twelve children. The first Anniversary Tea Meeting 
was held at the time of the Rev. 'Mr. Simpsons visit. 

Mr. Tuckfield sailed from Hobart on June 3<}th. and 
arrived in Hobsons Bay in July, 1838. Several members of 
the Wesleyan Chuixh hearing of his arrival, went to welcome 
him. So soon as the first greetings were over. Mr. William 
Witton, who had been resident in Melbourne for a short 
time, but had formerlv been an active member of the 


Society in Launceston, presented his credentials as a Local 
Preacher, which were found satisfactory. Then the minister 
and layman, walking arm in arm, proceeded from Sandridge 
to Melbourne, accompanied with others of the deputation, 
exchanging Christian salutations and talking over the 
prospects of Christian enterprise amongst the white settlers 
and the aboriginal population. It was a time of great joy 
and delightful intercourse, when for a short time, pastor 
and people in the small number that then represented 
Methodism in the land, could mingle together their pi'ayers 
and praise in acts of worship, hear God's word expounded, 
and plan the beginning of the godly work and goodly 
Church which were afterwards to be accomplished facts in 
their midst. The stay of Mr. Tuckfield was but short, l)ut 
it was a spiritual feast time to the people in Melbourne. 
Mr. Hurst came early in 1839. The story of their arduous 
self-denying labour amongst the natives at Buntingdale 
is of great interest. Till the arrival of Rev. Mr. Orton, 
they appear to have supplied services to Melbourne once 
a month. 

The benevolent action of the authorities at the Colonial 
Office in London brought some important help to the infant 
Church in Mell)0urne. They appointed Mr. Robinson as 
chief protector, and other gentlemen, Messrs. Sievewright. 
Parker, Thomas, Dredge, and Le Sceuf, as assistant 
protectors to the Aborigines. Of these gentlemen, Messrs. 
E. S. Pai'ker, and James Dredge were active Wesleyans. 
The foi-mer was a man of cultivated intelligence, consider- 
able force of character, and with a style of speaking 
remarkal)le for its clearness, chasteness, and fluency. His 
apparently impromptu speaking in committee, on the 
platform, or from the pulpit, as the writer who has heard 
him frequently can testify, had an even flow of choice, 
picked words and neat sentences, which, if reported 
verbatim, would read like the tinished style of a practised 
writer. Not a word out of place, not a word used for 
which one could readily suggest a better, no high flown 



phrases, his speech was a well of pure " English undefiled." 
He was one of the few speakers that one hears in a life- time 
to whom it is always a pleasure to listen for the musical 
flow and clear utterance of tit language in our native 
tongue. He had been for a short time a Wesleyan minister 
in England, and continued to the day of his death a most 
acceptable Lay Preacher in the pulpits of our denomination. 
Mr. James Dredge was a holy man, a brother like to 
Barnabas, " a good man and full of the Holy Ghost," a man 
of prayer and power, who was in labours more abundant 
for the spread of His Master's kingdom during the early 
years of this colony's history. 

Mr. Orton's journal, under the date April, 1839, records 
that Messrs. Parker and Dredge resided near Melbourne, 
and had been ministering the Word of Life to the people. 
They had kept the Society together, and had conducted 
public services, but had received instructions from the 
Government soon to go on their respective stations in the 
interior. Shortly after the arrival of Messrs. Parker and 
Dredge they made a house to house visitation of all 
professing Wesleyans in Melbourne. This visit was 
stimulating to the piety and zeal of the little flock of 
Wesleyans which had somewhat drooped through the lack 
of leaders, and through too much eagerness in money- 
making. The little Society much regretted that these 
devoted men could remain but a short time with them ; 
but as their oflieial work was with the blacks, they soon 
departed up the country. Mr. Parker formed a station for 
the blacks near Mt. Franklin, where he met with some 
pai-tial success in defending them from the encroaching 
habits of degraded whites, and in teaching them some 
elements of commercial and industrial knowledge and 
of Christianity. 

As the congregration in Swanston-street grew, the 
Society set about two things — making a clamour for an 
appointed and settled minister for them, and securing a 
better site and church building. Their repeated letters 


obtained the consent of the Rev. Mr. IM'Kenny, at that 
time Superintendent of Wesleyan Missions and resident in 
Sydney, that the Rev. Mr. Orton sliould ti-ansfer himself to 
Melbom-ne for a few months, prior to carrWng out his 
intended departure to England. Mr. J. J. Peers was again 
the principal agent in securing the amount wherewith to 
build a new church. He collected \\'ith unwearied energy 
most of the money for the building; when it was completed 
the Quarterly meeting acknowledged by its vote and gave 
him thanks " for his indefatigable and continued exei-tions 
on behalf of the Melbourne chapel." Mr. .Symoiis justly 
says that " Methodism in MelVjourne is indebted to few men 
more than to Mr. Peers." According to the same writer : 

" For some time before his death liis liealth was delicate ; 

his sickness was borne with Christian submis.siou and 
fortitude, and in peace he passed away to join the chorus of 
the redeemed, who unceasingly sing the song of Moses and 
of the Lamb." The site of the new church in Collins-street 
was not obtained witliout ditiiculty. Mr. Witton was 
instrumental in persuading the Trustees to ask for tliis half 
acre of land, in preference to a piece on Eastern Hill, which 
was of larger size, but removed farther from the centre of 
population. They sent off their application to the (iovern- 
ment at Sydney, but, as soon as the report of it got abroad, 
some citizens got up an opposition memorial, yet the 
petition of the Trustees was granted ere the counter 
petition was received V»y the Board of Land and Works. 
The grant had attached to it the condition that £300 should 
be raised by the Trustees and lo<lged in tlie l)ai\k in proof 
of bona jides in this Church undertaking, whicli was 
accordingly done, as we have seen, chiefly by the energy of 
Mr. Peers. The land, with building thereon, was in 1857 
sold for nearly £40,000. 

The statement of Mr. Orton speaks of liis again visiting 
Melbourne in 1839, landing on April 10th, wlien lie found the 
wilderness which he had left on his previous visit, convei-ted 
into an extensive town, containing four or five hundred 


houses. When the settlement was first formed, swamp 
lands adjoined the few miles of the Yarra's course below 
Melbourne, ti-tree scrub was plentifully skirting its banks, 
sod huts, and houses of wattle and daub were its best 
tenements ; but now the land had been cleared from the 
scrub on the river banks, and the sloping rises wliicli 
extended back from the river had been covered with 
houses, some of whicli were substantial and handsome 
buildings. He records, at this visit, that " the Methodist 
Society lias swelled to the number of thirty members, 
a commodious place of worship has been erected by 
their liberality, in which two or three persons officiated 
as Local Preacliers." Tlie cost of the first church was 
.£250, nearly all paid by the time of Mr. Orton's visit. 
As far as circurustances would allow, this Society was. 
organized by ^Ir. Orton, a Sabbath school put in order, 
prayer meetings established, and the distribution of tracts, 
which had previously received the attention of a few 
individuals, zealous for the cause of God, was stimulated 
and extended. 

He records also flie " zeal, assiduity, ^nd careful 
attention of several leading members of the Society to the 
cause which lay near their hearts, under whose nurturing 
regard the Society and congregations had not only main- 
tained their position, but had encouragingly progressed." 

Mr. Orton preached twice in Melbourne on the 21st 
April. On the 28th the preachers were — Mr. Hurst in the 
morning, Mr. Tucktield, afternoon in the open-air, Mr. 
Orton in the afternoon, at Mr. Langliorn's (or Langliam's) ; 
evening at church, Mr. Orton preached, and administered 
the Sacrament of the Loi-ds Supper. On the 19th, Mr. 
Dredge took him to an assembly of natives, 400 to 500 
being present. He spoke to them through Mr. Dredge as 
interpreter. He subsequently preached at Mr. Robinson's 
(Protector of Aborigines), and notes that six Tasmanian 
natives from Flinders Island were present. These under- 
stood English, and sang several hymns correctly. On May 


2nd, he left Melbourne for a lengthened tour in the interior, 
desiring to learn more about the natives, and about any 
opening for mission work amongst them. His first week 
was spent in journeying around by Macedon. to Geelong, 
which he reached on Saturday. On the Sunday follo^ving 
he preached in Mr. Fisher's barn. Then he journeyed to 
Barwon and Buntingdale, and spent the rest of the month 
to the westward, amongst tlie stations of the squatters. 
On May 30th he was among tlie Stony Rises, and arrived 
in Geelong on June 1st. He records sad cases of ill- 
treatment of the blacks by some few of the whites, and 
makes grave charges against one or two. On his arrival in 
Geelong, he received imperative orders from the London 
Committee to proceed to the Friendly Islands to investigate 
some allegations of a traveller which turned out to be 
groundless charges. But Mr. Orton did not reacli tlie 
Friendly Islands. He left Point Henry on June 3rd, and 
after a time reached Sydney, where he was delayed till 
the end of January, 1840, thence he proceeded to 
Mangungu, N.Z., awaiting the Triton. "When the Triton 
came in May, 1840, he found tliat he had been superseded, 
and his mission of inquiries entrusted to another. These 
delays, the suspense, the vacillation of the Committee, the 
detention from his family for so many months, with no 
regular work done, preyed heavily upon the good man's 
mind, but he bore up bravely and nobly. He had, on Rev. 
John Waterhouse's arrival in Hobart in 1838, received leave 
from the London Committee to return to England. The 
execution of that project had been deferred because of his 
short visit to Victoria in April and May, 1839, and now 
might well have been carried out. But in heroic self-sacrifice, 
anxious for the welfare of the Melbourne Society, at this 
time without a Minister, despite liis depression of mind, he 
proceeded to Sydney and volunteered to Mr. M 'Kenny to 
take charge for a while of the Melbourne Circuit, and to 
delay his intended departure to England. Tliat offer was 
gladly accepted, and we shall tind liim again in Melboum 


in October 1840, welcomed with glad delight by the 
infant Church. 

The Christian care of the Aboriginal race was brought 
prominently forward on the occasion of the meeting to form 
a local branch of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. 
Methodism is essentially Missionary ; and it has carried the 
doctrines of the Cross not alone among English-speaking 
races, but amongst people strange in tongue to, and far 
distant in location from, the inhabitants of the British 
Isles. Some pulsations of the Missionary spirit in the 
breast of British Methodism reached to the extremities of 
the body in this distant land. Those pulsations, perhaps, 
beat feebly, as compared with the life in the mother 
country, but they are here, nevertheless. Because the 
mission spirit, caring for the benighted, and the despised of 
other races, was present in this Southern hemisphere, the 
earliest Methodist ministers came here, and the first 
Missionary meeting was held. That meeting took place in 
the Wesleyan Church, on Monday, September 16th, 1839. 
A statement of the rise and progress of the Wesleyan 
Aboriginal Mission was read. As usual in such meetings, 
resolutions were proposed, speeches made, a committee was 
formed, contributions were solicited, and a collection was 
taken up. Amongst the speakers were the Revs. B. Hurst, 
W. Waterfield, James Clow, James Foi-bes, and F. Tucktield ; 
also, ifcr. Patrick, and Messrs. Robert Reeves and E. S. 
Pai'ker. The first Committee consisted of the Rev. 
B. Hurst, Messrs. E. S. Parker, J. E. Dredge, J. Fenton, 
J. J. Peers, W. Witton, J. T. Smith, with A. Thomson, 
Esq., treasurer, forGeelong; Mr. George Lilly, treasurer for 
Melbourne ; and the Rev. F. Tucktield and Mr. "NY. 
"VVilloughby as secretaries. 

The Rev. William Simpson, a Wesleyan minister, then 
stationed in Launceston, paid a Wsit to the young colony 
and the rising church in 1839, and thus records his 
impressions in a letter, headed, " Melbourne, December 
19th, 1839," which was written to the Rev. John 


Waterhouse, of Hobart : — '• Melbourne is situated two or 
three miles above the extreme head of Port Philip Bay, and 
possesses the advantage of a stream of tine fresh water. It 
occupies two very gentle hills vrith the valley Ijetweeu 
them, and contains, perhaps, from 3000 to 4000 inhabitants, 
a large proportion of whom are Scotch, and, of course, 
Presbyterian. They liave the largest place of worship in 
the town, although the Independents have a chapel in 
course of erection which will be much larger. Our chapel 
is much smaller, but literally crowded at eacli service on 
the Sunday, especially in the evening, and, were I going to 
remain here, I think that instead of suflbcating myself and 
congregation in so small a place I should turn out of doors. 
If we had a man to tix here, a chajiel might be counnenced 
immediately. Ground has been reserved by Government 
in a most eligible situation, but it will not be secured until 
the parties concerned have raised £300, and actually 
deposited it in a bank, forwarding the receipt of the cashier 
to the Colonial Secretary. So says Mr. M 'Kenny, of 
Sydney. In consequence of this, I met the provisional 
Trustees, who agreed to raise the money at once, and get a 
grant of the laud. This is of the more impoitance just 
now, as this very piece of land is applied for by the 
gentlemen in town for the erection of a Post-oliice. and if 
we do not lay in our claim, it is possible that they might 
dppi"i\"e us of it. We could raise pretty nearly £tOOO to 
conmience, which would enable us to build half a chapel, 
running a temporary partition l)ehind, so that we could 
complete it when we had funds. In the meantime we are 
getting sadly behind for want of some one l>eing 
permanently settled here. . . . From all I have seen I 
should say we want a man here with his eyes open, and who 
■will be prompt in adopting, and tirm in carrying out, his 
measures ; and the more I think of it, the more I am 
convinced of the propriety of our District appointment, for 
a man more titted than Mr. ^Nlauton, I don't think we have, 
and a better tield for missionary exertion I don't think we 



have in eitlier colony. I am quite confident that in Van 
Dieman's Land there is is no place equal to this in 
importance, exclusive of Hobart Town and Launceston, and 
my opinion is that this place ou(/ht to be occupied at once, if 
possible, though some other place might be only partially 
supplied in consequence. I regret very much tliat a 
journey to Buntingdale is impracticable, as I should feel 
considerable pleasure in paying it a visit. It would keep 
me from my own circuit too long. The shop of poor Mr. 
Blanch was blowTi up on Tuesday last, and himself and wife 
killed, and three other persons seriously injured. Young 
Shoobridge narrowly escaped and has lost a good deal 
of property." 

I have already stated that the first anniversary tea- 
meeting of the Sunday school was held at the time of Mr. 
Simpson's visit. The school at its organization had as, 
superintendent, Mr. Thomas Forster ; secretary, Mr. 
Theodore Dredge, junr. ; Mr. Andrew Crockett, treasurer. 
Mr. and Mrs. Thacker, Mr. Webb, Mr. Alley, Mr. Lobb> 
and family from Hobart, are mentioned as being present at 
the tea meeting, in active sympatliy with the school. The 
Brunswick-street Sunday school is said to have been com- 
menced a short time after this with four scholars. 

Mr. Orton came to Melbourne on Saturday, October 3rd, 
1840, to take for a time the pastoral charge of the Society, 
which now consisted of eighty members, under the care of 
four Leaders, having also seven Local Preachers. The 
small Church in Swanston-street was then crowded to 
excess. His account says that the new Church in Collins- 
street was in course of erection. Under his administration 
the several parts of the Methodist economy and services, 
were soon in vigorous operation. Two additional classes 
were formed, and by December the number of members 
had increased to 109. 

Mr. Orton preached in Melbourne on Sunday, October 
4th, and again on October 11th, but on the 12th he has 
recorded in his journals one of those cruel and despicable 


proceedings against tlie black natives, sometimes by 
arbitrary and unA\ase officials, more frequently by merciless 
individuals in private stations, which blots the history of 
the treatment of natives by the white immigrants in the 
early years of our colonization. A charge of plunder and 
murder of white persons had been laid against some natives 
{the latter part of the charge apparently groundless). This 
day (the 11th) natives from several ti-ibes, a hundred or two, 
were reported to be near the town. The officials ordered 
out soldiers and police for their capture. The natives were 
surrounded, but as one attempted to run away he was shot 
dead by a sergeant, without any oi'ders to fire. The rest 
wei'e driven into town, about a hundred drafted off to 
prison, and others confined in a shed. During tlie night 
some escaped by undermining the foundation of the place ; 
the alarm was given, indiscriminate firing took place, and 
another native (said to be one of tlie quietest, and not 
attempting to escape) was shot by the police. Mr. Orton's 
own comment is in these words : — " Thus, on the mere 
ground of suspecting two or three individuals, several tribes 
are forcibly and cruelly made prisoners, witliout any 
warrant of justice, nearly all of whom (if not all) are 
innocent of their offence, deprived of their liberty, and some 
murdered into the bargain. And yet these unhappy beings 
are declared to be Her Majesty's liege subjects. . . . 
How would such conduct be borne by British subjects 
at home, and how would it be tolerated by the British 
Government, if fairly represented to the authorities in 
England." Upon the trial of these prisoners who could 
not understand the depositions and evidence, only the 
shadow of a charge could be brought against twelve 
persons, the rest were set at liberty. Early in January, 
1841, ten were brouglit to trial, the evidence showed 
plunder of food, and firing or threatening to fire, by the 
natives, but upon great provocation, and no person was 
wounded. They were found guilty and sentenced to ten 
years' imprisonment in the hulks. One native, attempting 


to escape afterwards from the vessel, was shot and severely 
wounded. But he and the rest were ultimately set at 
liberty, as Judge Willis discovered that the whole of the 
proceedings had been illegal. 

This farce of justice occurring in other cases, the 
fact that native evidence was not received by the Court 
throughout this period, the arbitrariness of the authorities, 
and the repeated cruelties of the white settlers vexed 
the soul of this righteous man, and indignant and repeated 
are his entries and comments on these unrighteous pro- 
ceedings. He has seven cases of violence and massacre 
particularly specified in his journal, founded not on hearsay 
evidence, but on the depositions shown to him by the 
Protectors, officers of the State ; some of the cases showing 
wholesale slaughter. In one instance eighty natives were 
slain in exterminating massacre, apparently because when 
the firing commenced on the part of the whites, one of the 
assailants had been shot by a person of his own party, 
which rendered the whole desperate and merciless. No 
legal proceedings were of avail in a Court of Law, because 
native evidence was rejected, and the testimony of the 
miscreants themselves was the only direct evidence on the 
part of the whites. Mr. Westgarth has stated :— " In one 
neighbourhood, near Mount Rouse, during the years 1842-4 
not less than two hundred natives were shot by the 
settlers." There will be a day of reckoning for these 
things in a higher court. We are not prosecuting, nor 
prisoner's counsel, but merely annalists, who have to refer 
to these dark pages of Colonial history, as they touch upon 
the Methodist story, and portray the sympathetic yearning 
for the preservation, uplifting, and salvation of the Aborigines 
possessed by this good Methodist pioneer. The unhappy 
condition of the natives weighed liea\-ily upon the good 
man's mind, the mission at Buntingdale was not the success 
that he had strongly hoped for, many harassing events 
transpired which tried his spirit, fortitude, and patience, 
and his health began to give way. 


The first Quarterly meeting of the circuit was lield at 
the Minister's residence, situate in Russell-street, on Friday, 
January 28th, 1841. This is a meeting which manages 
the financial afiairs pertaining to the support of the 
Ministry, reviews and initiates measures for the supply 
of Christian ordinances and carrying on the conservative 
and aggressive work of religion within the bounds of the 
Circuit. The Circuit may be one congregation, but is 
usually an aggregate of congregations, united in a spiritual 
and financial bond for Church work and enterprise. The 
record of this first Quarterly meeting states in ink (although 
the writing has been crossed out in pencil) that Mr. Abel 
Thorpe and Mr. R. E. Bourne, were unanimously elected 
Circuit Stewards. Churches were required for Newtown 
and Williamsto^vn, and Building Committees were 
appointed for the two places respectively. It further states 
that the meeting was one of unanimity and affection, 
attended with prayers and "confident expectation, that this 
infant Society would become a praise in the earth; and, 
under the direction and fostering care of the Head of the 
Church, would prove a blessing to the rapidly-increasing 
population of the land." We presume that the funds 
of the Circuit were aided by a Government grant, as in the 
estimates for Port Philip for 1840, a Wesleyan Minister 
had an allowance of >£150 placed to his credit. The 
members at this first Quarterly meeting were the Rev. 
Joseph Orton, and Messrs Dredge, Thorpe, Witton, 
Wilkinson, Peers, Forster, Wellard, Crockett, Willoughliy, 
and Smith. 

Mr. Orton was a man of medium size, with dark hair 
and pale features, earnest and somewhat fiery in his 
style of preaching. We suppose that he was of nervous 
temperament, as he liad a habit of twirling his fingers in the 
curly locks of his hair, or of winding his watch chain 
around one finger, when speaking to an audience. That 
individuality which is betrayed by a man's favourite forms 
of speech was marked in him. Few sermons were preached 


without this phrase coming into use, •' darkening counsel or 
words without knowledge." Other marked phrases are 
retained by those who listened to him, and who have 
survived him to this day. His sermons in the body and 
bulk of them have passed away from living memory, but 
the favourite quotations or phrases remain to memorize the 
sermons and the man. He was a disciplinarian, and had 
love of order. He was very intent on doing good while his 
day of work lasted, for at this period of his life his physical 
frame was considerably shattered, needed rest, and was 
giving premonitions of that speedy dissolution which 
shortly afterwards took place. Whilst he stayed in the 
Melbourne pastorate, services were established at Brighton, 
Brunswick, Williamstown, and other surburban villages, as 
they were then, but which are populous municipalities now. 

Mr. Orton records in his journal that " the first stone of 
a chapel, two-and-a-half miles from Melbourne, was laid 
to-day," December 27th, 1841, whether at Newtown or 
Brunswick we cannot decide. 

On Mr. Wilkinson's arrival, Mr. Orton stayed a while 
in Victoria, then went to Sydney to consult Mr. M'Kenny, 
there saw a doctor who forbade his preaching again because 
of an affection of the throat, came back to Victoria, and 
finally determined, in January, 1842, to make the 
voyage to England. 

The Melbourne Methodists took leave of him at a 
farewell meeting, held on February 28th, where a written 
address, warmly appreciative of his pious care of them in 
the start and infancy of the cause, was presented to him. 
He could not speak to them, and his reply was written out 
and read. It was modest, grateful, trustful, but had the 
laboured, somewhat involved style of his writings. The 
good man's heart, however, warmed towards the people, and 
they parted from him with sadness and grateful love. The 
electricity latent in the human heart has certain special 
times of manifestation. 

' ' 'Tis when we meet, 'tis when we part, 
Breaks forth the electric fire." 


On March 2nd he went on board the James, Captaia 
Todd; Rev. J. M'Kenny conducted a service on the deck at 
which crew, passengers, and visitors were present. The 
friends, taking leave, " sorrowed most of all, that they 
should see his face no more." His journal records many 
discomforts on the voyage, and the gradual failure of health 
in the cold latitudes. His earthly career closed on April 
30th, 1842, and his mortal remains were committed to the 
deep, while the vessel was rounding Cape Horn. We may 
well count that a saintly and useful life was finished by a 
peaceful end. 

We look back to him with reverence for the part he 
took in planting the Methodist Church in Victoria. He 
had some notion that his tender plant would grow into a 
giant tree with wide-spreading branches, and bearing 
abundant fruit. But neither he nor his compeers saw what 
a halo of imperishable renown would surround his name 
amongst future generations of Methodists ; because, given the 
hour, he was the man, under Divine Providence, to seize 
the early opportunity of planting on these shores, and in 
this fertile land, so vigorous an offshoot of the Methodism 
of this Southern world. 

" To those who walk beside them, great men seem 
Mere common earth, but distance makes them stars ; 
As dying limbs do lengthen out in death, 
So grows the stature of their after fame." 

We remark concerning his early helpers, less known and 
less prominent in the work than he, laymen who were early 
identified with the Melbourne Wesleyan Church. Mr. 
Wellard was a native of Essex, who had joined the 
Methodist Church in early life, came to Tasmania with some 
intention of employment as a religious teacher, then 
migrated to Victoria, and laboured long and usefully as a 
Methodist Local Preacher, having won the esteem of many 
for his unblemished Christian life, 

Mr. Crockett was an Irish Methodist, straight, stalwart,, 
industrious, hospitable ; resident afterwards in the interior 


at Mansfield. Mr. Thorpe was in a good social position, 
and was much respected. 

Mr. Thomas Forster was afterwards a prominent 
member and official of tlie Church in Geelong. A pillar of 
the Church, stout, sturdy, strong, reliable. 

Mr. James Smith was a saintly man, wearing in youth 
and manhood a genial smile, that seemed almost like 
heavenly radiance when his head grew grey, and his heart 
ripe in holiness in after years. He was long a witness by 
lip and life of perfect love, most indefatigable in his private 
labours for the good of his fellows, acceptable as an 
occasional preacher, although having no wide range of 
thought or vocabulary ; generous, bountiful, a lover of 
prayer and of good men, devotedly attached to the Church 
of his choice, but mostly a lover of Christ, and hence having 
a catholic spirit towards all who love the Lord Jesus. 

Mr. William Witton is the surviving member of the 
first Quarterly meeting, and one whose Christian course has. 
been coincident and contemporaneous with the rise and pro- 
gress of Methodism in Victoria. He is a stout, robust man of 
middle stature, with grey eyes, somewhat florid complexion, 
and of manly address ; a father in our Israel, the patriarch 
of the whole family of Victorian Methodists ; among the 
first to unfurl and plant the Methodist flag in this land — a 
flag which has not yet been hauled down, nor shall it be 
while time shall last, for it is designed to show that the 
land is a heritage of King Jesus. He was a pioneer in the 
Western District to thread the whilom wilderness, and in 
difierent spots to turn up the virgin soil and scatter 
broadcast the seeds of life, which are now bearing a grand 
harvest ; a man, who, long ago, was of our good brethren, 
the Lay Preachers, classed Al in tlie register, and now, 
after years of service, he has no lower classification. He 
is still hale and hearty, sound in the faith, strong for 
labour, and carrying about the glad tidings of the kingdom 
of God in the Warragul Circuit in Gippsland. In the 
commerce which truth carries on, he yet goes to and fro 


ladeu -with the precious commodities of the Evangel of 
Christ, and with those choice products which piety and 
prayer alone can secure for ourselves and carry to otliers. 



We sketch in this account, chiefly the outer phenomena 
and manifest woi'kings of Methodism in its rise and progress 
within the colony ; but those outer manifestations have an 
inner life which we have no wish to hide from mental 
view. Yet, to discover and disclose those hidden springs 
of action is no easy work. Can we trace up the streams of 
benevolence and beneficence to tlieir fountain head 1 Can 
■we analyse and show the superior and inferior motives 
and aims which prompted and governed this religious 
movement 1 Can we note the life germs which in tlreir 
development and growth have given existence to this body 
of institutions, members, adherents, specialties, and 
activities which we call Victorian Methodism 1 We do not 
desire to make any subtle analysis of this work, nor give 
any far-fetched reasons to account for the growth and 
spread of this section of the Church of Christ: Our simple 
explanation of it is " the Divine life in the soul of man." 
Its leading motive of action has been, and is. Christian 
" faith wliich works by love." TJiat cliief motive may have 
been in part adulterated here and there with partizan 
feeling, desire for Church aggrandisement, or the multi- 
plication of a sect. Human works are imperfect, and some 
dross may have mixed witli the tine gold of Christian 
spirit and action. Yet, we think, that uncliallenged, or at 
least not successfully to be controverted, is the claim fot 
the leading spirits of Early Methodism and the great bulk 
of its members, that they were actuated by a pure desire 
for the glory of God in the spread of religion, and the 


salvation of men. Our creed in this matter is a short and 
simple one. He that loveth God will love his brother also. 
We do not go into minute dissection in order to find out 
life. No scalpel is used to find out human life. Let the 
reality of it discover itself. It has its subtleties, which 
evade your research. It has also its vitalities and its 
evidences, which make themselves plain enough to the 
learned mind or common understanding. Religious life has 
a few simple elements. Those primitive forms appear 
in almost endless diversity in the complicated matters 
of Church movement and action. We give some of 
these, but we cannot pretend to trace out their 
diversified combination and ramifications, for in religious 
life the relations existing between the inner and the outer, 
the spirit and body, the effort and the success are so 
subtle, far reaching and complicated, that the cleverest 
man on earth would be at fault correctly to delineate or 
fully to describe them. You have in libraries, thousands 
of books, but twenty-four letters in their combination are 
the elements of all the words, sentences, paragraphs, that 
they contain. So faith, hope, joy, love, peace, purity, 
patience, obedience, and a few other graces of the Divine 
Spirit are the letters from which are made the volumes and 
virtues of Christian lives, and the incidents and annals of 
Christian history. The reader will bear in. mind as he 
goes on with this story, that we assume the existence and 
workuig of these graces and this Divine spirit, even though 
our account may not throughout keep the facts and truths 
in especial prominence. We believe such agencies to liave 
wrought in these good men and grey fathers of our Church, 
the story of whose lives, so far as it affects Victorian 
Methodism, we briefly rehearse. 

We make no apology for taking account of some small 
matters, which to others may appear trivial and 
unimportant, nor can we pass by the course of regular 
circuit occurrences, though the record of figures and routine 
may be voted dry. In these small matters of the present 


are signs of the important future. The straw on the 
surface is an index of the direction of the current, the leaf 
is a type or pattern of the whole tree ; "the child is father 
to the man." 

Resuming the thread of narrative, and detailing the 
second portion of our story from the time of Mr. 
Wilkinson's becoming the resident Superintendent to the 
discovery of gold in the land, we chronicle the holding of 
the second Quarterly meeting of the Melbourne Circuit. 
The Rev. Samuel Wilkinson had arrived, as the first 
Minister regularly appointed, by arrangements made in 
Sydney, to occupy the post of Wesleyan minister in Mel- 
bourne. He came on March 9th, 1841. He is a genial 
kind-hearted man, with no brilliancy as a preacher, yet 
sound in doctrine, and steadfast in his work. He still 
lives, and is pursuing his honourable and unblemished 
career as a Methodist preacher, and a servant of Christ. 
He presided over this Quarterly meeting held in May 14th, 
1841, at which were also present : — Rev. J. Orton, and 
Messrs. Witton, Wellard, Dredge, Crockett, Forster, 
Peers, Overton, and Thcmas Wilkinson. Some forward 
steps had been taken for the erection of the Newtown 
(Fitzroy) Church, and it was proposed to place one at 
Brickfield, believed to be at South Melbourne. The 
number of members had increased to 105, and a further 
increase to 118, was reported at next Quarterly meeting on 
July 23rd. Mr. Marsden was appointed to succeed Mr. 
Bourne as Circuit Steward. Land for a Church at the place 
now called Coburg had been promised, and a Committee 
was appointed to get means for its erection. But the 
event of this quarter was the opening of the Collins-street 
Church. It was situate on half an acre of land, was 60 or 
65 X 45ft., with a gallery at one end, and cost £3000. 
Subsequently it was lengthened by 25 feet to 90 feet. 
The materials were of brick. It was in the Grecian 
order of architecture, and was an ornjiment to that part 
of the town. All its appointments were in keeping with 


that chaste and useful style of buildiBg. It has been 
a hallowed place to many. The regular worshipper 
counted it as his home nearest to heaven. The youths of 
Methodism revered it as " our holy and beautiful house 
where our fathers worshipped Thee." Immigrants, after 
months of privation of religious ordinances, regarded it as a 
harbour of refuge and place of rest ; and we have known 
such to shed tears of joy as they stood in the porch of the 
temple, or entered to enjoy anew the feast of Christian 
sociability and truth, to which they had been accustomed in 
former days. Did not God also regard it as the place of 
His feet made glorious with proffered worship and 
imparted blessing, as His earthly alter from whence arose 
to heaven the incense of devotion and praise, and His 
sanctuary of grace, musical with the voices of worshippers, 
and irradiated with the beams of His everlasting truth and 
love. Did not God look on it as a witness for truth and 
Divine things, amid the surging world of bustle and deceits 
and sharpness that was around 1 A witness for religion 
amid the tumult of commerce 1 A structure pointing to 
heaven 'mid the multiplied affairs which were binding 
to earth ] We may certainly do so, as hundreds of our 
fathers have done. 

' ' For it is well amid the whirr, 
Of restless wheels and busy stir, 
To find a quiet spot, where live 
Fond pious thoughts conservative, 

That ring to an old chime 

And bear the moss of time." 

The first offerings of praise and worship within its walls 
were on Thursday, 24th June, 1841, when the Rev. W. 
Waterfield preached in the morning ; text, " Thy kingdom 
come"; collection, £17. Rev. J. Orton preached in the 
evening from Psalm cxxxii., verse 7, 8, and 9 ; collection, 
£35. The opening services were continued on Sunday, 
27th, by Mr. Tuckfield preaching in the morning from 
Psalm Ixxxvii., verse 5. Rev. Mr. Forbes in the evening 


from Acts viii. chapter, verse 5 ; collections at two 
services, £70. 

The Rev, Samuel Wilkinson continued as the Circuit 
Minister until the end of 1842, and the Circuit, under his 
administration, was blessed with a steady progress. In 
April of this year the membership numbered 162 full 
members, and 11 on trial, an advance of 55 on those 
reported at the first Quarterly meeting held in Mr. 
Wilkinson's time. The first steps were also taken for 
a preacher's appointment at Geelong, hitherto visited 
occasionally by the Ministers resident with the natives at 
Buntingdale. At the Quarterly meeting held on April 
8th, and again by adjournment on May 20th, so 
good a field did Geelong appear, that Mr. James Dredge 
was requested to labour there. The promising youth 
of Geelong Methodism has been amply fulfilled in later 
days. Rev. J. 0. Symons states that *' Mr. Dredge was 
a man of superior mental endowments, great excellence of 
character, and an able preacher. This appointment was 
most satisfactory to the people, and most opportune for the 
interests of the Church. His services were highly valued, 
and were very useful." They were continued from June, 
1842, until 1846, when, as health failed, he sought recovery 
by a voyage to England. Captain Dalgarno, who 
commanded the vessel in which he sailed, speaks in 
the most glowing terms of his saintly spirit, and the 
suasive power, on behalf of religion, which he exercised on 
all round. He was maturing for heaven, for he fell asleep 
in Jesus ere the vessel reached the English shore. " His 
memory is warmly cherished by those who were favoured 
with his ministry ; and his name is perpetuated by many 
members of his family, who have been, and still continue, 
identified with the Wesley an Church in Victoria. " 

In Mr. Wilkinson's time, the progress of the church 
was quietly and steadily going on. The colony did not 
suffer from the depression of its secular interests, which 
took place in the years immediately subsequent to this 


time, nor were the people stirred with such a rage of 
excitement as came about in the time of the gold fever. 
As the colony was making quiet progress, so in Church 
affairs, there was an even step, a steady march onward. 
The Church liad rest, and the members " walking in the 
fear of the Lord, and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were 
multiplied." This was owing, in human agency, not only 
to the urbanity, wisdom, and quiet power of the pastor, but 
also to the fervour and activity of Christian helpers and 
members then living in Melbourne. Who that calls to 
mind the cautious wisdom and firm integrity of Chai'les. 
Stone, the sunny warmth and cheeriness of James Smith, 
the fire and firmness of Oliver Parnham, the power in 
prayer, and glowing ardour of soul possessed by Robert 
Galagher, and of others then in connection with the 
Melbourne Church, whose lives have been lengthened to or 
near this present date, but would know tliat spiritual 
forces were at work in them (such as Methodism has 
prized and utilized in her godly laymen), that would tell 
immensely for good in the circle of their acquaintance and 
in the whole ^community 1 These were men not given to 
rant and rhapsody in devotion, nor making great stir 
in public life ; ?^but nevertheless, by their consistent piety, 
their well-ordered homes and families, their honest 
upright walk in business affairs and daily life, and their con- 
scientious work in Church lines, they accredited the Church 
of their choice. They were pillars in the Church, epistles 
and exponents of the faith, and mainsprings of religious 
movement and activity felt to the outmost circle of 
Melbourne life. The beautiful regularity of their Christian 
lives was to be seen not only in conscientious attention 
to public duties and ordinances, but in the wise government 
of, and harmonious action in, their Christian homes. The 
sunniest, best fenced, most fertile spot in God's vineyard is 
a Chidstian's home. These abounded in the Methodism of 
that time. The counterpart of the Cotter's Saturday night, 
celebrated in Scottish songs and by Northern bard, could 


have been found in such homes. Their interiors would 
have presented no luxuries, nor many decorations by aesthetic 
art, but the plainness of furniture becoming the home. 
Simplicity of dress befitting the men and women, and home- 
spun virtues that adorned them most, Avere readily to be 
marked in them. Quiet thrift, with cordial hospitality ; 
plodding industry, Avith open-handed beneficence ; reverence 
for authority, for religion, for God. The Bible ha^Tug the 
■chief place on the book-shelf, its pages wide open at the 
family altar, its living truth enthroned in the heart. 
Other books, such as, " Lives (5f Early Methodists," the 
numbers of the " Methodist Magazine," or the " Christian 
Miscellany," " Foxe's Book of Martyrs," " Bunyan's 
Pilgrim Progress," " Baxter's Saint's Rest," would have a 
place by the Book of Books, for family reading and for 
religious nui'ture. The time for rising and for rest, for 
private devotion, for family worship, for secular duties, 
would be as regular as the clock, and less noisily pursued. 
But the cheer would come in at the Adsit of a friend, the 
calling in of a neighbour, the birthday anniversary, the 
pastor's call, when would be the uplifted voice in holy 
song, for these Methodists loved music, and Methodist 
tunes were lively and lustily sung. The exuberance of 
spirit, and religious joy would flow for the most in strains 
of joyous song. The almost quaker-like simplicity of garb, 
the homely virtues, the meek and quiet spirit wore well in 
the rubs and duties of everyday life. They were a salt to 
conserve and flavour the piety of the Church ! May 
they be long continued ! 

The Rev. William Schofield succeeded Mr. Wilkinson 
-as Minister. He was present at the Quarterly meeting of 
January 24th, 1843. He did not neglect the business 
•arrangements of the Church, but was an adept in figures. 
The details of Circuit income are now recorded. They 
furnish the items of " Class and Ticket money, £36 12s. ; 
Quarterly collections, £15 ; man-iage fee, £5 ; arrears, £1 ; 
from District Treasurer, for Mr. Schofield's travelling 


expenses, £26 Is. 3d. ; total income for the quarter, 
XI 21 7s. 6d. Mr. Schofield was of medium height and of 
build inclined to stoutness. A man of shrewdness and 
energy, sometimes directed into secular channels more than 
was deemed lit by some of his flock ; but, nevertheless, in 
the main attending to the best interests of his people. He 
had the faculty of interesting young men in religious 
truth, gathered them around him by sympathy and 
fatherly kindness, formed many into a Bible class, and 
was the agent of spiritual good to a number. The Hon. 
r. E. Beaver, then a youth, was by him led to the Bible 
class, to the class meeting, and to Christ. A notable and 
widespread revival of religion occurred in this minister's time. 
Methodism has been remarkable for these health-giving 
epidemics. Where has not Methodism, which is the child 
of revival, been signalised in its history in any place by 
those heart-stirring times, when multitudes, as with one 
consent, turn from the ways of worldliness and sin to the 
paths of righteousness 1 Where in outlying British pro- 
vinces and possessions has not the pious British soldier 
been the means of a like active propagation of Christian 
truth, Methodist ordinances, and religious blessing and 
success ? A soldier, named Rudkin, one in a detachment 
of troops then stationed in Melbourne, was a leading 
instrument in this revival. He was a man of prayer, and, 
therefore, a man of power. A flame of fire himself, he 
kindled the holy fire of religious love and enthusiasm in 
others. Although labouring in a private station, and 
sustaining no public ofiice, he was of eminent use in leading 
sinners to Christ ; and in increasing the interest in experi- 
mental godliness in both soldiers and civilians. 

In Mr. Schofield's term we note the appearance of these 
official Laymen at the Quarterly meeting, viz., Messrs. P. 
Dredge, Parnham, Grimshaw, Thompson, Fenton, Horton, in- 
dicating that these were leading and active members in the 
Church. Messrs. Jones and Forster were Circuit Stewards 
in 1844, and Messrs. Sidney Stephen, and Burns in 1845. 


The specialties of religious sein-ices were open air meetings, ' 
some of wliich were very successful, and a prayer meeting 
at 5.30 a.m. determined on for every morning, but we 
know not how far this latter meeting was kept up in 
interest and attendance. We, however, give the good 
fathers credit for all that this early devotion implies. In 
the few entries respecting the number of members, we lind 
the return of 181 full members, and 22 on trial at the 
meeting of April 11th, 1843, and the largely increased 
number of 360, with 9 on trial in January 11th, 1846, 
about three or four months after Mr. Schotield left. Some 
of the outlying places were growing, but were not strong, if 
the financial test be applied, for the income for the last 
quarter of 1844 was from Collingwood, 10s. lOd. quarterly 
collection ; Brunswick, same collection, 3s. Id., and class 
money, 16s. 8d. ; and from "Williamstown, collection, £1 3s. ; 
and class money, £1 Is lOd. However, as the income from 
the Circuit exceeded, in 1845, the expenditure by £'62, the 
Quarterly meeting felt strong enough to apply for a second 
Minister, and also to apply for the appointment of one to 
Portland. An increase of the Ministerial staff took place 
in 1845, as the Rev. E. Sweetman was the presiding 
officer at the Quarterly meeting held on October 14th, 
1845, and the Rev. W. Lowe was present at the suc- 
ceeding one held in the Minister's house, Bourke-street, on 
January 6th, 1846. The writer had no personal acquaint- 
ance with the Rev. Mr. Sweetman, but had heard about 
him from early boyhood, owing probably to the singular 
coincidence, that from the Windsor Circuit in England, 
where his parents then resided, two men, bearing the names 
of Dove and Sweetman, had been recommended to the 
Methodist ministry, and had been sent out to the Mission 
work, one to Sierra Leone, and the other to Australia. 
Both were men of placid, amiable disposition, of courteous, 
gentlemanly bearing, and their whole temperament and 
behaviour corresponded with their names. Rev. Edward 
Sweetman was the effective and beloved superintendent in 


Melbourne until January, 1850. Many stories are current 
of the calmness and self-command of the man, of his affable* 
spirit towards others, and of his unruffled temper under 
trying circumstances. He had a colleague, full of fire and 
energy, in Mr. Lowe. Under their labours, with those of 
their fellow helpers, Methodism made steady progress, so 
that the number of members mounted up in October, 1847, 
to 412, with 51 on trial; and in December, same year, to 
436, with 36 on trial. The Quarterly meeting repeatedly 
expressed by invitation, its desire to retain Mr. Sweetman, 
" an enlightened, faithful, and able minister of the Gospel," 
as its superintendent ; and Mr. Lowe was again and again 
invited to remain. These were true yokefellows in the; 
work of the Lord. As the income increased with the mem- 
bership, application was made in 1846 for a third minister, 
and for. one also to be stationed in Geelong. This was 
repeated in 1847, when the following resolution was added : 
— " That Mr. Symons of the Maitland, and Mr. Flockhart 
of the Arhuthnot, having preached at Melbourne with very 
great acceptance, this meeting has respectfully to request 
the Rev. W. Boyce to communicate with the Wesleyan 
Committee, and represent the wants of the colony with 
reference to Ministerial aid, and that the Melbourne Society 
would have great pleasure to receive either of the above 
brethren, should it be practicable to send them out." These 
gentlemen were eventually received into the Methodist 
Ministry in these lands. In these yeai's Mr. J. R. Pascoe's 
name appears at official meetings, and for some time he was 
an influential layman in connection with the Melbourne 
Society. Mr. Walter Powell's name appears in the minutes 
of the Quarterly meeting on October 5th, 1847 ; also that 
of Mr. Wills in 1846, and that of Mr. Guthridge in 1848. 
The Rev. W. C. Currey was present at that held on 
January 4th, 1848. This, we presume, indicates the rein- 
forcement of the Ministerial staff so much desired ; and 
the formation of Geelong and places adjacent into a 
separate Circuit. 


The return of members is thenceforth divided as per- 
taining to the respective Circuits, the numbers given in the 
British Minutes of Conference for 1848, being -.—Melbourne, 
295 ; Geelong, 129 ; Buntingdale, 2 ; and for the year 1849, 
being : — Melbourne, 294 ; Portland Bay, 34 ; Geelong, 134 ; 
Buntingdale, 2." The appointments named, in the Bi'itish 
Minutes of those years, to stations in Victoria, were not 
regularly carried out in practice. 

The cause at Newtown (afterwards Fitzroy) commenced 
with open air service in the bush, near what is now 
Moor-street and Carlton gardens. Messrs. Beaver, Morris, 
and others remember attending such services in the 
years 1841-2. The first Church was on the south side 
of Moor-street, near its intersection by Brunswick-street. 
This was followed by a stone Church erected in 1849, 
on the site of the present in Brunswick-street. The 
first Sunday school started at Newtown, had Mr. James 
Webb as superintendent ; Mr. Beaver, secretary ; Mrs. 
Westlake, Mr. South, and others as teachers. The Rev. 
Nathaniel Turner mentions his landing in Melbourne 
in December, 1846, and further records "I enjoyed 
the early Sabbath morning walk to the home of my friend 
Mr. Bell. On attending a delightful service in Collins- 
street, at which I heard Mr. Sweetman preach, I found 
myself surrounded by several Tasmanian friends, who were 
right glad to greet me. After dining, I visited Colling- 
wood, where Mr. Lowe preached a profitable sermon. The 
congregation was good and deeply attentive, but the Chapel 
is a miserable afiair. Here I found one of my greatly 
endeared spiritual children, Mr. Walter Powell, formerly of 
Launceston, in charge of a very interesting Sabbath school. 
I addressed a few words to encourage and stimulate the 
congregation before they parted. Several souls have lately 
been converted to God. At the evening services I assisted 
Mr. Sweetman in the administration of the Lord's Supper." 
The visit of this venerated man would be much prized, 
not only by his spiritual children, but by the Methodist 


congregations generally, to whom his name was as a 
" household word." 

The cause was likely to grow that had connected with 
it a sage and able administrator such as Mr. Sweetman, a 
fervid preacher like to Mr. Lowe, staid and earnest men in 
middle life, like to Mr. John Wills and others, and intelli 
gent, pious, enterprising young men, as Messrs. F. E. Beaver 
and Walter Powell. Accordingly, under God's blessing, 
with the influx of population and the spread of this suburb 
of Melbourne, this infant Society made rapid growth in 
numbers and influence, until it became a stronghold of 
Methodism. It has been, and remains to this day, a choice 
and fruitful field of Methodist culture, signalized as much 
as any place in and around Melbourne, for the steadfast 
piety of its members, and the liberality of its people, for 
the success of its school and mission enterprises, for the 
noble bands of young people of both sexes, that have 
thrown themselves with zeal and thoughtfulness into the 
work of the Church, and for the influence for good that this 
Society has wielded upon the surrounding communities ; as 
also for the many agents that it has sent out to leaven with 
the Gospel other places and lands. This religious fruitful- 
ness can be traced back to the preparations and solid work 
of the period we have now in review. The ground was 
trenched deeply by faithful preachers, fervid prayers, holy 
living, and by the power of the Spirit of God upon the 
consciences and hearts of men, and it has proved itself a 
right fruitful soil. The blessing of Jehovah has rested 
upon this vineyard, as set forth in the prophet's words, " I 
the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment, lest any 
hurt it, I will keep it night and day." 

The period of which we are treating was marked more 
by steady advance than by fitful leaps of progress. The 
judicious superintendent worked well the ordinary means 
of Church life and activity, but he could travel out of 
beaten paths at times, and try new methods of aggression on 
the territories of darkness, and of accumulation of electric 


power in the Church. A camp raeeting was appointed for 
Good Friday, 1848, and watch-night services were held 
quarterly in that year. Special services were held in 1849, 
and inaugurated by sermons on Sunday, January 14th, 
preached by the Rev. John Harcourt. At the April Quar- 
terly meeting, resolutions were passed, enjoining a more 
strict attention to the reading of God's word, to private 
prayer, and family devotion. Mr. Harcourt proved liimself 
an earnest preacher, a diligent pastor, and a most accept- 
able colleague. He is the soul of honour, with a sensitive 
and fervid temperament, somewhat precise, but courteous 
and gentlemanly, a good man, exact in his business habits, 
and throwing no mean taleiit and no fitful energies into 
the work of building churches. He did much pioneer work 
in the bush, in the newly-settled parts of the "Western sea- 
board, and upon the goldfields, as well as contributing 
to the consolidation and growth of the Church in and 
around Melbourne. The Rev. E. Sweetman found in him a 
hearty colleague, and a kindred spirit. That Barnabas of 
our early Church, Mr. Sweetman, was truly a son of con- 
solation, and continued through these years to knit hearts 
to himself, and win souls to Christ. He had a noble 
presence, and great suavity of manner ; a most kindly heart, 
and a "svinsome piety ; so that the man commended the 
message which he delivered in the name of the Master, and 
attracted many to the ways of piety. His pastoral wisdom 
is embalmed in the memory of many early colonists. Mr. 
Symons has paid tribute to his charm and power in the 
pulpit, and we give a part of his sketch : — " He was a 
preacher of a very superior order, and would have taken 
high rank in any place, where sense is esteemed more than 
sound, and where thoughts are more valued than words. 
There was a thoughtful vigour and an elegance of diction 
in the pulpit performances of Mr. Sweetman, which gave a 
great charm to his sermons, and which, added to a deep but 
quiet earnestness, made him a most interesting, useful, and 
profitable preacher." Mr. Symons must surely have taken 


for his model and ideal, a man in whose praise he is so 
enthusiastic. But a still better portraiture of him is given 
in that sweet English classic, the " Deserted Village." Mr. 
Sweetman was as fair a copy of Goldsmith's Village 
Preacher, as this Southern world has seen. 



A NEW ecclesiastical period began with the years 1850 
and 1851. The Victorian Church had become of such 
importance as to warrant the formation of it into a new 
District, and the appointment of the Rev. W. Butters as its 
first Chairman. Its title was at first " The Victorian 
Section of the Australian District," but it was really from 
this time a new District, distinct and separate from those 
of adjacent colonies, yet bound to them by their common 
relationship to the Home Connexion and the British Con- 
ference. The manhood of Victorian Methodism had come, 
it donned its ecclesiastical toga, as being of full age ; and it 
had cause soon to use its best wits, and show itself worthy 
of its responsibility, for strange, unexpected, and extra^ 
ordinary circumstances were soon to environ it. The 
upheaval and disorganization of society, and that irruption of 
numerous hordes of immigrants from other lands, marking 
the epoch of the goldtields, were soon to take place. It 
wanted a good pilot to guide the ecclesiastical ship, amidst 
the seething rush of waters and boiling deluges of events, 
that were soon to try the best skill of the steersman, and 
the utmost strength of the ship. These events would 
be more severe and ci'itical tliau any passage through 
"The Rip" or "Narrows," or any voyage down rapids, 
almost as bad as " shooting Niagara." Where was the 
skilled pilot to be found 1 He was providentially at hand 


in the person of the Rev. W. Butters. Can we put him 
before our readers 1 Can we justly describe the man 1 Let 
us not be considered offensive or bizarre in our account, 
when we say that his was the name of a person, not of a 
thing ; and of no inconsiderable person ; he was a man, 
and a great man too. He, with his excellent wife, con- 
jugated " to do" in all its tenses in his active life here, and 
he did not decline to suffer when privation, inconvenience, 
hardship, could promote the cause of his Master. He was 
a Hercules in his strength, a giant in intellect, a Saul in 
stature, a great man in our Israel. He used to speak of 
himself as a " buttress " to the Church ; we think that he 
was a pillar ; not an external support merely, but a strong 
internal column. He exerted a Samson's sti-ength, not to 
pull down the temple, but to build it up. He lived and 
spoke, and acted for its edification. No one had more 
shrewd sense, or more sterling honesty. He was a man of 
understanding " to know the times." And when stirring 
times came, he was found sagacious in his counsel, far- 
seeing in his views, comprehensive in his gi'asp, prompt in 
his decision, and widely active in the employment of men 
and measures that would best serve the interests of religion 
and the permanent welfare of the people. He was a power 
in the pulpit. For the strength and cogency of his 
arguments, the lucid exposition of his subject, the fervour 
and almost white heat of his impassioned appeal, few 
men in Victorian pulpits can compare with him. He did 
not, even before a village congregation, bring a slip-shod 
manner, and an unprepared jumble of thoughts and words; 
but he was truly grand on great occasions. Sermons 
on " God's Inquest on the Lost Soul," " the Power and Work 
of the Holy Spirit," from Zech. iv., verse 6, 7, and other 
sermons that could be named, cannot be forgotten by those 
who heard them. In his insti'uction he was a master- 
builder in the city of God, laying a good foundation of 
Christian doctrine, building a solid superstructure of Chris- 
tian experience and holiness. He had come hither as a 


man of renown. He had laboured among the degraded 
convicts of Port Arthur, the vilest of the vile, the hardened 
of the hardened, and from chain gang and manacled des- 
peradoes, had won some trophies for the Redeemer. His 
zeal in his youthful ministry in Launceston had been, 
signally owned of God in the conversion of sinners, and 
in the bringing many from among the socially respectable 
classes to the feet of Christ. After nearly 17 years spent 
in Tasmania, he came in the prime of his manhood and 
strength to conduct the afiairs of the Methodist Church 
in Victoria, and to make full proof of his ministry. A 
sentence which dropped from his lips, on the lirst occasion, 
that the writer heard him, well sets forth his spirit and his 
style of public address. Talking of Christian missions as 
individual, as well as collective work, he said, " I would 
read or pray, give or speak, go or stay, as God directs and. 
helps me, so that I might in any wise add strength to the 
pinion, and speed to the flight of the angel flying in the 
midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach 
unto them that dwell on the earth." Rev. xiv., verse 6. 

Mr. Butters presided at the Melbourne Quarterly meet- 
ing on April 2nd, 1850, when a Wesleyan Immigrants' 
Friend Committee was formed for the purpose of renderings 
assistance in any practical way to new arrivals ; for a stream, 
of immigration was setting in. This was another step in 
the work that culminated in the well-known "Wesleyan 
Immigrants' Home." Amongst new names at the Quarterly 
meeting this year and the next, appear those of Messrs. 
Hyde, Cameron, Little, Head, Baldwin, and Thomas. 
Messrs. J. R. Pascoe and Henry Jennings were Circuit 
Stewards for these two years. A chapel at Richmond was 
projected, as Mr. Henry Miller had given a piece of land 
for that purpose — a small one had previously been built. 
The Day school movement received a great impetus through 
Mr. Butters' direction. The first mention of a "Wesleyan.. 
Day school in Melbourne was at the Quarterly meeting of 
October, 1845, when it was determined to establish one. 


This was shortly after in efficient operation. A school 
house was built in Lonsdale-street on the present site 
of the Wesley ,Church, and a school started during the 
pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Harcourt. The building was 
used for religious service on Sunday afternoon and evening 
in the year 1851. Other new schools were founded in the 
suburbs of Melbourne and in other parts of the colony, so 
that when the statistics were tabulated at the time of the 
first District meeting, the return gave 20 Day school 
teachers, and 699 scholars on the roll. This movement 
received a great extension on the gold fields. The popular- 
izing of Day schools permeated with religious instruction, 
was brought about by Church enterprise, and was fostered 
largely by the liberality and care of the Methodist pastorate 
and peojjle. 

When the first District meeting was held, which was on 
September 9th, 1851, the Rev. W. Butters was chairman; 
Rev. F. Lewis, secretary ; and Rev. W. Lightbody, John 
Harcourt, and Samuel Waterhouse were present. Mr. 
Waterhouse had been recommended to the work of the 
Ministry by the Tasmania District Meeting, and entered on 
the work in Victoria in October, 1850. The Bush Mission, 
extended to Bacchus Marsh, Kilmore, Kyneton, Mount 
Franklin, was largely under his care. Many families 
dwelling on farms and stations scattered in the newly- 
settled districts, received and valued his ministrations. 
After some months of earnest labour in this colony, he 
departed to tlie Fiji Mission, on which his heart was set. 
This first District meeting made its station sheet as follows : 
-^-Melbourne : W. Butters, John Harcourt; Collinywood: S. 
Waterhouse ; Geelong ; F. Lewis, W. Byrnes ; Belfast : W. 
Lightbody; Portland: W. C. Curry; Kyneton: Vacant for the 
present. N.B. — Rev. Joseph Morris expected from India. 

The schedule of property at this time, showed : — Church 
and School at Collins-street, with ministers residence built 
during the year ; school house at Lonsdale-street ; stone 
church at Collingwoad (Fitzroy) ; Brunswick, brick church ; 


Williamstown, small church ; churches at Great Brighton, 
Little Brighton, East Brighton ; a small one at Richmond ; 
and a stone church at Pentridge. The Class Leaders were : 
— Melbourne: Mrs. Wilson, Messrs. J. R. Pascoe, Horton, 
Powell, Hyde, Wellard, Little, Waitt, and Galagher ; 
Collingwood : Messrs. Lowe, Abbey, and Wills ; Pentridge : 
Mr. Sidebottom ; Brunsivick : Mr. Lobb ; Brighton : Messrs. 
Webb, Cameron, Stone, Head, and Barker ; Riclimond : 
Messrs. Guthridge and Parnham ; Plenty : Mr. Ordish ; 
Kilmore : Mr. Chambers ; St. Kilda : Mr. Jennings. For 
the colony the yearly return showed Local Preachers to be 
39; Class Leaders, 50; Members, 712; on trial, 45; 
sabbath scholars, 1283; and about 5000 attendants on 
public worship. The Church made satisfactory progress in 
the quiet times immediately succeeding. That the Sabbath 
scliool work was not in every school as efficiently conducted 
as might be desired is shown by the following advertise- 
ment which appeared in a Melbourne paper: — "Wanted 
several parties of both sexes, competent to undertake the 
duty of Sabbath school teachers in the school recently 
formed in connection with the Wesleyan Chapel, Lonsdale- 
street. Persons wishing to engage, will please send in their 
names to the Rev. J. Harcourt. For terms, see Eccles. 
xi., verse 1." This probably was an appeal made at the 
beginning, or early in the life of the school. The number 
of Churches being more than that of Ministers, reminds us 
that the service of the outlying Churches was largely, and of 
the principal Churches occasionally, conducted by the 
devoted and self-denying body of men, the Local Preachers, 
who, through the last decade, had been diligently plodding 
on their way to the different appointments under summer 
heat and in winter rains, sometimes with the simmering 
sky blazing on them almost as in torrid zone, at other times 
threading their way through open bush, or over sinking 
sand or swamp, so that the people gathered for Sabbath 
service might have preached to them the Word of Life. 
The swamps and sands, which even now skirt the Yarra, 


remind us of the diflSculties for the pedestrian who would 
reach Williamstown by Spottiswoode's Ferry, or any near 
route. In the forties, the track to Brunswick and the 
Plenty was through open bush, and it was easy to lose one's 
way. In 1852 new comers lost their way when journeying 
between Melbourne and the Brightens. Sometimes one 
might chance to meet a footpad there. The journeys to 
distant appointments, nine, ten, and twelve miles, for the 
Local Preachers were mostly on foot. Yet they minded 
not fatigue, extremes of weather, nor perils on the road, 
that they might be messengers of grace to their fellow men, 
and might " save some." Those who comfortably and 
swiftly travel from the centre to the suburbs of Melbourne 
in this day, can have little idea (unless they are old 
colonists) of the difficulties of transit in former days. Thei'e 
were open spaces by the University, between Lygon-street 
and the Wesleyan Immigrants' Home, and in other parts 
of the city, that were in winter sticky with soft mud and 
clay, and seamed with deep and open gutters. Crossing the 
space where now stand the Treasury Buildings, the writer of 
this, walking in the dusk of the evening, (in 1855) fell into 
an open drain, scored by nature, some tive or six feet deep, 
and had an impromptu bath, as well as a severe shaking, 
before he could flounder out on the other side. Those were 
the days of rough travel and primitive ways in the city 
and vicinity of Melbourne. 

Before the second District meeting, the discovery of 
gold in several parts had upset and revolutionized the 
whole state of affairs in the land — material, social, econo- 
mical, commercial, religious — and had spread its wave of 
influence to near and far distant shoi'es. 

Gold had been discovered in large quantities in Cali- 
fornia in 1848. It was found by Mr. Hargreaves in New 
South Wales in 1851, and by Mr. Esmond in Clunes, 
Victoria, in the month of June or July, 1851. and shortly 
after at Ballarat, at Buninyong, at Forest Creek, Mount 
Alexander, and other places. 


When the news spread abroad respecting the rich finds 
of gold on these newly-opened diggings, the people of all 
ranks and classes, flocked hither in thousands. Each 
was hopeful for a good slice of luck, and a good share 
of the plunder. A few weeks of toil, not severely hard to 
one accustomed to the use of tools, was to bring him a 
fortune for life. The gold was there, hundreds were 
getting large quantities, why should not he^ The hard 
handed son of toil was the best equipped for the labour, but 
many, unaccustomed to manual work, found sufficient incen- 
tive to dig and delve, and a large number were successful. 
The riches of the goldfields were marvellous, and came into 
many hands. In the month of October, one ton weight of 
the precious metal was forwarded to Melbourne by the gold 
escort from the Mount Alexander district, and this was 
followed from time to time by almost similar quantities. 
An exodus took place from the farms, towns, cities, and 
colonies adjacent. Stores were shut, farms forsaken, ships 
deserted by their crews, towns almost depopulated of their 
male inhabitants, clerks, mechanics, labourers, storekeepers, 
policemen, sailors, professional men, Government employes, 
whoever could get away, went off to the diggings. The 
settled districts became for the time, like a Sahara, and 
the living population crowded to the new Eldorado, thick as 
"leaves in Vallambrosa." When the sire went, the son 
would go too. The aged men had the vigour of youth come 
back in the new fever that had seized them. Of course, 
miners went from the copper regions of South Australia ; 
stalwart farmers, free labourers, and expiree convicts came 
over from Tasmania. New South Wales sent its thousands. 
Soon, many were migrating from islands of the South Sea, 
and ship loads came from distant California, bringing, many 
of them, their expei'ience in digging, cradling, and sluicing, 
to bear upon these new fields. But the British Isles, as soon 
as the news reached there, poured forth their thousands 
upon thousands in one continuous stream of passengers and 
immigrants to the golden shores. They came, thick as flies 


in summei', dense as clouds of locusts upon the fields of 
autumn. The influx of immigrants, and the departures from 
old lines of occupation by the colonists soon disarranged 
prices, and disorganized society. Prices of commonest 
articles advanced with fearful rapidity, and rents in Mel- 
bourne become enormous : the waves of population were 
coming in, and could not be provided for. Tented life was 
necessary on the goldfields, it became necessary as a supple- 
mental provision, for accommodating the swarms of people 
that came to Melbourne. People coming from other parts 
were only too glad to get, at almost fabulous prices, shelter 
for the night in outhouses, huts, schoolrooms, vestries, 
and churches. The inns and houses could accommodate 
but a small portion of the new arrivals. Presently diggers, 
favoured with ample funds, or gold that could get friends 
and funds, poured back again into the city, and multitudes 
sjient their newly -acquired wealth with extravagant reck- 
lessness. At the hotels or in the shops they parted with 
scores or even hundreds of pounds in a few days or weeks, 
thinking they could readily replace what they were squan- 
dering. Some ate bank notes, sandwiched between slices of 
bread. Some " shouted" for bottles of champagne. Others 
were free with their money in riding or driving about with 
the most costly vehicles to be obtained. Alas ! many spent 
large sums in gambling, rioting, and debauchery. Lightly 
come, freely wasted, was the order of the day with the 
money and the gold. The demon drink was abroad in a 
terrible form, and let slip the dogs of moral havoc amongst 
the thoughtless people. The result with many was the 
head turned, and the life depraved. Through these events 
society was in a state of flux, and no one could predict how 
and when it would settle down. Tradesmen and merchants 
were at first in great alarm, but soon saw that new 
openings for trade presented themselves, and that the circu- 
lation of gold would be the life of business and commercial 
prosperity. Presently wealth came rolling in upon trades- 
men, importers, merchants, farmers, as Avell as upon 


prosperous diggers. This restlessness and excitement upset 
the calculations of ministers and church officials, and tried 
greatly the religious steadiness of the members. To keep 
sobriety of thought and earnestness of devotion, amid the 
whirl and war of interests, and fever of exciting, stirring 
events was almost as difficult as for a swimmer to pass 
safely through the rapids and whirlpools below Niagara. 
Numbers of them were carried on the prevailing stream of 
migration to the goldfields, and some of them, we fear, were 
lost in the voi'tex of worldliness. But the bulk of Church 
members from Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, who 
were the first Methodists on the goldfields, stood firm to their 
Church and their religious principles. When in December, 
1851, it was estimated that 20,000 persons, mostly men, 
were resident on the goldfields ; it was also calculated that 
4000 were adherents of the Wesleyan Church, and these 
formed an important, and we may confidently say, a con- 
serving element in the population there gathered. "When 
such numbers of convict expirees, and desperadoes, the wild, 
dissipated and reckless from many parts, had assembled, and 
reckless tendencies were fed by so many incentives, many 
feared lawlessness and anarchy would come similar to what 
had taken place in the early days of California. Some 
turbulence took place ; but law and order were maintained, 
largely by the support given to the authorities, and the 
moral influence exerted by so strong a proportion of order- 
loving, godly people, as represented the Methodist and other 
Churches. Some of the action of constituted authorities 
was open to debate and exception ; it appeared arbitrary 
and imprudent, but those were difficult times. They tried 
the nerve and the wisdom of officials greatly. But in all 
right and considerate action they could count on the support 
of miners and diggers who represented the Methodist body. 
There was plenty of prodigality, gambling, dissipation, and 
riotous living on the diggings, but there was a strong leaven 
of sober virtue also, a salt to season the whole body cor- 
porate and to save it from overspreading corruption. The 


Puritans being so strong in number in the days of founding 
the American commonwealth, gave complexion to the hardy, 
sober thought of New England, and largely shaped the 
social and national life of the United States. North 
America has been all the better for that important element 
in its society. So it was good for this land, when the rush 
of mixed characters, different classes, and vai'ied nationali- 
ties, took place to the goldfields, that Methodism had 
previously taken such a hold of the soil, and so many of 
its virtuous, sober-minded citizens were found in the popu 
lation of the goldfields — the remnant that the Lord had 
sent with others like-minded of the sturdy British stock to 
save from the horrors of rapine, anarchy, and recklessness of 
human life that marked the early times in the goldfields of 
California, and from the desperate wickedness and " depths 
of Satan" found in demoralized communities. 

Now Mr. Butters' capacity for wise administration shone 
forth. When Leaders, Local Preachers, and members were 
leaving the city in shoals, he did his best to supply their 
lack of service, and save the Church from loss and wreck. 
He put into harness other promising agents, kept ordinances 
going as best he could, closed up the ranks of his workers, 
and stayed oS" any wide disaster. Soon he was over- 
whelmed with work in his oversight of Churches already 
planted, and his endeavours to supply some Christian ser- 
vices to the new clusters of people on the goldfields. He 
had to answer the thousand and one questions of new 
arrivals, some of whom appeared disappointed if he could 
not tell them where to pick up gold in the street. Pro- 
vision of some kind must be made for the shelter and 
housing of Methodist adherents or families flocking here by 
the hundred, and such shelter was hard to get. He was 
assisted nobly by such active, intelligent men as Messrs. 
Walter Powell, Pascoe, Guthridge, Beaver, and others. 
Writing under date of January 21st, 1852, Mr. Butters 
states that "about one thousand arrived from Tasmania and 
Adelaide yesterday, and we are told that thousands more 


are coming, I suppose that multitudes may be expected 
from the home country." As the opening of schooh-ooms 
and other places afforded not sufficient room for nightly 
shelter, and when incidents like the following pi'essed upon 
them the urgent expediency of finding more accommodation 
as also some Christian homes, for the influx of people, then, 
the Wesleyan Immigrants' Home was erected. At a meeting 
convened in Collins-street, to devise means for obtaining 
more Ministers from England, presided over by Mr. Butters, 
and attended by many influential laymen, Mr. W. Powell 
rose to speak under strong emotion. He stated that on 
that day, whilst passing on the street, he met a woman, a 
Wesleyan, in great distress, and unable to obtain lodgings 
or shelter, because every place had been so crowded, and 
she had been compelled to pass the night previous on the 
wharf under the shelter of a cask. She was a respectable 
woman, on her way from Tasmania to join her husband in 
Ballarat. He proposed that an Immigrants' Home be built, 
and offered <£50 towards it. This being warmly taken up 
by others, led to the erection of that Home in Melbourne, 
Mr. Butters made several trips to the goldfields to see the 
exact state of things, and to give them the occasional 
ministry of the word. The Rev. John Harcourt and F. Le^vis 
went also, as did the Ministers of other Christian Churches. 
Mr. Butters soon saw the urgency of more ministerial aid 
and agents. By September, 1851, he had collected 
£100 to send for two additional Ministers from England 
and to defray the cost of their passage ; but by the end of 
the year he concluded that was altogether an insufficient 
addition to the ranks, if promising and needy cases, 
clamouring for ministerial supply, were to be met. Sup- 
ported by the December Quarterly Meeting he made urgent 
requests for more Ministers to the Rev W, B. Boyce 
(General Superintendent of Missions) and to the Missionary 
Committee in London. Mr. Butters' letter to the latter is 
worthy of transcription and permanent record. It is dated 
Melbourne, January 21st, 1852: — "Some weeks ago I 


posted the minutes of our First Annual (District) Meeting. 
Since then, however, great changes have taken place 
among us with which I think you ought to be made 
acquainted. From other sources you will have learned 
that large portions of this vast country have been proved 
to be immense goldfields of surpassing richness, and that 
already several tons of the precious metal have been 
brought into Melbourne. The news of our wealth has 
brought thousands of persons from the adjacent colonies, who, 
with many of the inhabitants of our towns and villages, are 
now congregated where the rich deposit is found. 

It is impossible to imagine the wild excitement which 
has been induced, and the effects which have followed in 
every department of our work. At the date of the 
discovery, everything was in a healthy and flourishing con- 
dition. Our chapels were filled to overflowing, our class 
and prayer meetings were well attended, and our numbers 
in society were steadily and rapidly increasing. Our Sunday 
and Day schools were in great prosperity. . . . But 
the gold has, for the present, sadly deranged our plans. 
Many of our members, and more than half of our Local 
Preachers are scattered over the length and breadth of 
these extensive goldfields. Some of them have become 
suddenly and unexpectedly rich, while others have been 
greatly inconvenienced by the changes which have taken 
place, and there is a manifest danger lest the all-absorbing 
subject should turn away their minds and hearts from 
things unseen and eternal. We confidently hope, however, 
that this state of things will soon pass away, and that the 
wonderful events that are transpiring around us will be 
made subservient to the extension and establishment of the 
Redeemer's kingdom. What the ultimate effect of these 
may be the shrewdest among us dare not guess. It seems 
reasonable, however, to expect that an immense population 
will be attracted to the place. . . . We shall require 
a proportionate increase of Mmisterial strength. At 
our September Quarterly Meeting, held before anythin» 


important in reference to the gold was known, the pro- 
priety of requesting the Committee to send out help was 
earnestly urged, and twelve of those present engaged to 
contribute or collect £5 each towards paying the passage 
and outfit of two Ministers from England. The thousands 
that have been added to our population since then have 
rendered the case increasingly urgent. We require at least 
four Ministers in this Circuit. . . . At a distance of 
about eighty miles is Mount Alexander, where there are 
between twenty and thirty thousand persons digging for 
gold, among whom are hundreds of our own members 
without any Wesleyan Minister, except as they are visited 
from Melbourne. The Brethren feel the circumstances of 
these persons at the mines to be so urgent that about a 
fortnight ago we met together and determined that though 
Melbourne itself required additional help, yet one Minister 
should be sent from its staff to devote his undi\^ded atten- 
tion to that part of the country. (He states further, that 
application had been made to the Lieutenant-Governor 
for aid from the gold revenue towards the Minister's 
support, which had been readily granted). You are aware 
that for many years the Trustees of our principal chapel 
have been all but overwhelmed with a large debt. Last 
year Mr. Boyce generously promised us £500, if we 
raised £500 to pay off £1000 from our debt. A few 
evenings ago the friends met together and added to 
amounts which had been previously promised, sufficient 
to pay off the entire debt of £1300. I probably ought 
to add that of the large amount so generously contributed 
several of our successful gold finders gave most nobly, 
some of them in cash, and some of them in gold, just as it 
was got out of the earth." 

In the year 1852, trade made such rapid strides, that 
small tradesmen became prosperous merchants, and artisans 
and journeymen who remained in the city or returned 
to it, found their services in request at a high wage 
and premium : some of them became contractors on their 



own account. These for the most part put their 
■wealth into good channels in extension of their business, 
and in ready support of pliilanthropic and religious institu- 
tions. Amongst those who gave muniticent sums may be 
named Messrs. "Walter Powell, James "Webb, N. Guthridge, 
F. E. Beaver, Pascoe, and others. They were f i-ee with their 
donations to build churches, secure Ministers, build the 
Immigrants" Home, relieve the destitute, and to aid the 
struggling. There was great strain upon business men ; lSo2 
and 1S53 were years of general prosperity ; but some re- 
action came in after years, which brought down some 
establishments with a crash. At this time, 1S52, the head 
of a large business said, '• I must work as I do or close up 
my business : there is no middle course." This was the era 
of enterprise and push, the former quiet times had passed 
away, and competitors, for even a li^"ing, as well as for 
riches, were on eager stretch, and at high pressure speed. 
It told unfavourably for meditative religion, and for quiet 
waiting upon God, but it enabled some to give with a 
princely liberality. Any enterprises needing money, set on 
foot by the Chairman of the District, the Pastor, or the 
Church, met with a hearty support. 

The District meeting met on September 22nd, 1852, 
and was attended by the Ministers, Revs. Butters, Lewis, 
"W. C. Currey, Symons, Byrnes, and Chapman. The Rev. 
John Harcourt had removed to South Australia; Mr. 
"Whewell was introduced into the Ministry by the recommen- 
dation of this meeting, and was placed as a colleague with 
Mr. Butters. Other changes in stations were : — Mr. Symons 
to Colliugwood, Mr. Currey to Mount Alexander, Mr. Byrnes 
to Brighton. The meetiag apportioned Government grant 
of £600 to the golddelds, reviewed the work generally, 
recorded the erection of a Church of wood at North 
Melbourne (Hotham), and deplored the lapses of immi- 
grants on the voyage out from England and other countries. 
It stated that few out of the multitudes that in lands 
on the other side of the world had been Chvirch mem- 

ITS oBiGix jlSI) history. 59 

bers identified themselves on their arrival here with 
their Church. The greater number, it was feared, had 
fallen away from relio^on. This unhappy r^olt was 
only too true at the time, but many in sabseqaent years 
"were recovered to Church fellowship and a reli^ous life. 
Among the arrivals of this year were some choice spirits, 
who became pillars of our Church, Henry Cooke, and 
Captain ^latthews, etc. Mr. Benjamin Cocker is mentioned 
as present at the April Quarterly meeting. He had been 
a merchant in L^unceston, was a wonderfully gifted and 
persuasive preacher, and after varied experiences in these 
lands, the South Seas, and America, he settled down as 
Profe^or of Moral Philosophy, etc., at Ann Arbor Univer- 
sity, State of Michigan. He acquired great influence and 
renown as a teacher and writer of important books, and 
was held in high esteem by the Church of which he 
had become a ^Minister, the MethcKiist Episcopal Church 
of America. 

The Wesleyan Immigrants' Home was opened on Novem- 
ber 2ith, 16-52. It had cost ^£3000 to £3-500, of which 
the Government gave £1000. It was a well-conducted 
home, a shelter for sojourners, a centre for the orderly 
and sober immigrant, a register of information, a substitute 
for their own home to the young men who by hundreds 
came to it, and a safeguard from the prowlers and the dens 
of the city. One or other Wesleyan Minister was Chaplain 
for years, conducted family worship, and gave information, 
advice, and help to the crowds which frequented it. Mr. 
Courtney first, and afterwards Mr. Thos. Fielding, did 
good service as the superintendents of the institution. 
It subsequently came into the hands of Mr Joseph 
I»we as a private enterprise, rented from the Church as 
proprietors. A cottage was built on the site, which was 
for years the residence of a Wesleyan Minister. Mr. 
Puuers stated at the time of the opening that "such 
had been the crowded state of Melbourne for some time 
past, that on several occasions the vestry and schoolroom 


had been used as places of nightly shelter to newly-arrived 

The remaining debts on existing chapels were swept 
away ; but the frightful cost of materials and labour 
deterred the Church authorities from any buildings in tliis 
year, 1852, save those mentioned as the "Home" and 
North Melbourne Church. But a scheme was launched 
for obtaining iron chapels from England ; the sum of 
£4000, it would appear even £6000 was raised to pay for 
six or seven buildings of these materials. The matter 
succeeded as a commercial speculation, but was a failure in 
respect to Church accommodation. That was a fortunate 
thing, as iron is not the material suited to this warm 
climate, as the only Church of iron, that at Prahran, built 
at this time, soon made manifest. Those who pry into 
these antiquities, represented by the scheme for iron chapels 
can consult Symons' "Life of Di'aper," p. 157-9. 

The enterprise was well meant, and gave Mr. Butters, 
Mr. Powell, and others, a great deal of anxiety ; but, 
happily, was set aside by more suitable structures. Churches 
were erected during 1853, at Prahran, cost £1400 ; St. 
Kilda, cost £1300 ; Bruns^\^ck, cost £1600. In 1854, at 
Richmond, cost £3000 ; and the Church at Brunswick- 
street enlarged at a cost of £2000. The prices were 
extravagantly high, as carpenters wages ranged from 20s. 8d. 
to 30s. per day ; stone masons and bi'icklayers, 25s. to 40s. ; 
and material and other labour in proportion. In a letter 
of date November 25th, 1852, Mr. Butters wrote of the 
moral state of the colony, and the resolute spirit of the 
Methodist people in grappling with the work and difficulties 
before them : — "I wish I could write more favourably in 
reference to the spiritual condition of our society, and the 
moral condition of the country ; but the state of excitement 
in which we have been for the past year, has been most 
unfavourable to spiritual prosperity. Melbourne is in a 
very different state now to what it was before gold was 
discovered. We are resolute, however, to endeavour by 


distribution of tracts, the re-establishment of out-door 
preaching, and the employment of every other means 
within our power, to stem the torrent. I have a deep con- 
viction that if the Church of Christ does not do its duty at 
this time, the land will become a proverb and a reproach. 
We, as a people, have a great work to do. May we 
have grace to do it ! Amen and amen ! " 



The event of the year 1853, in Methodist circles, was the 
visit of the Rev. Robert Young. He was the deputation 
sent by the Missionary Committee and the English Confer- 
ence to inquire and report respecting the expediency 
of organizing the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion in Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, and the South Seas into an Affiliated 
Conference. The many questions connected with this broad 
subject were to be reported on by the Rev. Robert Young. 
The view that lands colonized by British subjects, and 
growing fast in wealth and population, would soon become 
ecclesiastically self-supporting, had been for years enter- 
tained by the Mission authoi'ities. They had given practical 
effect to their views by sending the Rev. W. B. Boyce to 
Sydney in 1846 as Genei'al Superintendent, to prepare the 
way for such a consummation in this part of the world. 
He had diligently attended to his trust. Then in December, 
1851, the Missionary Committee expressed its opinion that 
the Australian Church could act for itself, and was hopeful 
that other portions of the Southern Mission field could be 
incorporated with it. On their recommendation, the British 
Conference determined to send two Ministers to consult 
with the Ministers and Churches in the lands of the 
Southern Hemisphere, respecting the principles and features 


of the Plan for an Australian Conference, and generally to 
report on the practicability of the plan, and the state of 
the Churches. The Rev. Robert Young, and Rev. John 
Kirk were appointed as the deputation. Their first attempt 
to reach here was defeated. The steamer Melbourne was 
disabled and put into Lisbon, having narrowly escaped 
wreck. Mr. Young returned to England, and re-embarked 
December 19th, 1852, this time in the Adelaide; but Mr. 
Kirk withdrew from the Mission, returned to England, 
and remained there. Mr. Young reached Adelaide early 
in May, 1853, after an eventful and perilous voyage, and 
on May 11th, landed in Melbourne. He was welcomed at 
a breakfast meeting held on the 1 4th, and made a statement 
of the object of his visit. Another meeting was held in 
Collins-street Church, when, in view of the urgent need of 
Ministerial help, six hundred pounds were promised to pay 
for the passage of six Ministers, and the money was shortly 
after sent home. Another hundred pounds was obtained 
from some other place (1 Drysdale or Indented Heads), and 
entrusted to Mr. Young for the same purpose. Mr. Young 
remained about three weeks, when he passed on to other 
parts, but returned to the colony at the end of the year. 

In response to Mr. Butters' first appeal after the dis- 
covery of gold, the Missionary Committee in London resolved 
that four Ministers should be sent forthwith. The Rev. 
John Kirk was to have remained in Australia. The Revs. 
Isaac Harding and Richard Hart were appointed to Mel- 
bourne on the stations for 1852 of the British Conference, 
and the Rev. Thomas Raston, formerly of Sierra Leone, 
was also selected. The Rev. Isaac Harding came by the 
end of June, 1853, and was retained in Melbourne. The 
Rev. Richard Hart arrived during the year, and was 
appointed to Geelong. The Rev. Thomas Raston suffered 
shipwreck on the coast of Brazil, but eventually reached 
the colony, and was at his circuit on Bendigo by the end 
of August. Mr Harding busied himself as Chaplain of 
the Wesleyan Home, and by going on board newly- 


arrived immigrant ships to search out Wesleyans and other 
Christians, together with the pressing duties of the Circuit 
in those eventful times. He also took charge of aflairs in 
Melbourne, whilst Mr. Butters left in the end of the year 
for an extended visit to the goldfields. Mr. Harding was 
strong, healthy, able to ride hard and endure fatigue, and 
had the spirit and qualifications of a pioneer. His ministry 
was acceptable, and his pastoral visitations were much 
valued. After a few years in Victoria he laboured in New 
Zealand and Queensland. The Rev. E. Sweetman came over 
from Launceston, and for a time took charge at Brighton, 
which had been formed into a new Circuit, and where a 
Minister's residence was being built. 

The Annual District meeting was held in Geelong on 
August 9th, 1853. There were present : — 'Revs. W. Butters, 
F. Lewis, J. Harding, Thomas Raston, Richard Hart, W. 
C. Currey, William S. Byrnes, John C. Symons, and Joshua 
Chapman. Messrs. Byrnes and Symons had completed 
their probation. Messrs. Chapman and Whewell retired 
for want of health (the latter resumed after a season). 
Stations were arranged which ai"e noted in other pages. A 
note of regret was sounded that comparatively few of those 
who were members in England could be as yet induced to 
meet in class. It was stated that Melbourne Society was 
in a " state of fusion, and in what particular form it would 
come out of the furnace we dare not guess." The diffi- 
culties had increased, because the Superintendent had been 
single-handed — his colleague had been out of health — but 
this was partially remedied by Mr. Harding's arrival. 
Through house rent in the city becoming so dear, most of 
the official Laymen had gone to reside in the suburbs, and 
their attendance at services and meetings on the week night 
could not well be secured. Collingwood had been unsettled, 
but was recovering the healthy tone of former times. A 
few conversions had taken place, and it was projected to 
meet the wants of a dense and growing population by more 
Church buildings and services. Ten places of worship had 


been purchased or erected, of canvas or slabs, on the gold- 
fields. Meanwhile a great increase in the population was 
going on. The numbers had advanced by 161,631 between 
March 2nd, 1852, and April 26th, 1854. The population 
had more than trebled. 

The report for the year 1853, emanating from Mr. 
Butters, records the continued straits for house room for 
the inJBiux of people ; that Church accommodation was sorely 
insufficient for the crowds who would attend ; that 5000 
persons took up their abode in tents on the south side of 
the Yarra (Canvastown) ; that a large tent was set up by 
the Wesleyans outside the encampment in which they 
conducted public worship, and held a Sabbath school for 
some months. The removal of this temporary population 
caused the removal of the tent to Emerald Hill (South 
Melbourne) where a class had been formed, a Sunday school 
begun, and regular services were held. A reviving influence 
had fallen upon Brunswick, which had multiplied one class 
into three, led to the erection of a schoolhouse and a 
master's residence ; and the commencement of a subscription 
for a new chapel. At Pentridge the Church was full to 
overflowing, and steps were taken for its enlargement. At 
Williamstown, the Chapel which had been shut up, was 
reopened and improved ; a class and Sabbath school again 
commenced, and the friends were applying for a Minister 
to be stationed. At St. Kilda a Church of wood had been 
erected, and there and at Prahran were two Sabbath 
schools and five Society classes. It was proposed to com- 
mence service at Sandi'idge. Brighton and Collingwood 
had been formed into separate circuits, and the prosperous 
issue of the measure during the year, had fully justified its 
wisdom. Throughout the pi'o\T.nce the Day schools were 
"well reported of, and five Sabbath schools on the goldfields 
were in flourishing operation. 

The year 1854 opened with the holding of a Special 
District meeting, as the Rev. Robert Young had returned 
from his extended tour through the South Seas, and wished 


a definite opinion from the Yictorian Church respecting the 
proposals with which he was charged. Mr. Young spent 
the closing part of 1853 on the goldfields, in company with 
Mr. Butters, and we have given some account thereof in 
other pages. The Ministers gathered in the District meeting 
fully concurred in the wisdom and necessity of forming the 
Australasian Conference, having the Polynesian Mission 
A\dthin its bounds. They honoured the deputation by their 
resolutions, hospitalities, and appreciation of his services. 
He was a man of mark in the Home Connexion, and had 
exercised a Ministry that had been singularly successful. 
Without any shining talents, he was a good specimen of 
the English Wesleyan Preacher devoted to His Master's 
work. The British Conference of 18.54 thanked him for his 
valuable services, and accepted the plan for the Affiliated 
Conference as submitted to them. 

The other noteworthy business of the District meeting 
was the requests to retire from active work and return to 
England, pi-eferred by Mr. Lewis on account of his own 
health, and by Mr. Sweetman, on account of his wife's 
health. These requests were acceded to, with resolutions 
expressive of the value of Mr. Lewis' ser^^ces during- 
twenty years, and Mr. Sweetman's for about the same time. 
The Minutes for the British Conference for 1855, state that 
Mr. Sweetman had withdrawn from the ministry of the 
Wesleyan Church, but Australian Methodists strongly assert 
concerning him, that he is, if "lost to sight, to memory dear." 

Mr. Lems had become a great sufferer through dys- 
pepsia, and was physically incapacitated for the arduous 
work of an itinerant Minister. He returned to England; 
but days and years of suffering were appointed to him, 
until he fell asleep in Jesus on 12th March, 1864. His 
name is graven on many hearts in these lands, for he had 
won many to righteousness, and had helped them much 
who had believed through grace. It was proposed by the 
District meeting to build Churches at Sandridge, Williams- 
town, South Melbourne, Collingwood Flat, Hawthorn, 


Heidelberg ; also, to raise <£5000 for Day school purposes ; 
and further, to found or erect a Grammar school for educa- 
tion of the youth of the more respectable classes, the first 
germ of the project of Wesley College. Melbourne reported 
an addition of 120 new members in four months ; and 
other places were having accessions to the membership. 
The Chairman of the District M'as relieved from Circuit 
engagements, that he might have a more extended over- 
sight of the general work. Other appointments in the 
forecast of this meeting were : — Melbo^irne West : John 
Eggleston (he was present at this District gathering) ; James 
S. Waugh and W. Byrnes ; Melbourne East : John C. 
Symons and W. Hill ; Geelong : J. Harding and R. Hart ; 
Williamstown: "W. C. Currey ; Port Fairy: Joseph 
Albiston ; Portland : W. Lightbody ; Castleniaine : W. P. 
Wells ; Sandhurst : Thomas Raston ; Ballarat : Theophilus 
Taylor ; Beechworth : Charles Akrill. It will be observed 
that in this list are new names of Ministei'S. These were 
the Ministers who left England by the sliip Beulah. This 
vessel had, even for those times, a voyage unusually pro- 
longed. Starting from England in September, 1853, she 
did not cast anchor in Hobson's Bay until February 3rd, 
1854, "having been 139 days in the passage. But she 
brought witli her men of mark ; some of whom have done 
as much as any of their brethren to mould and serve the 
Victorian Methodism of the third quarter of this century. 
Messrs. Waugh, Wells, and All)iston continue to the present 
as leading Ministers of the Church. The Rev, William 
Hill rendered distinguished service, until his ti'agic end in 
Pentridge Stockade. A despicable ingrate took his life. 
Theophilus Taylor was in delicate health, but was a forcible 
preacher and energetic man. His career in the colony was 
a brief, but useful one. Mr. Akrill failed in health. Taken 
together, this was a notable and valued reinforcement of 
the Ministerial staff. Tliere had been also a valued addi- 
tion to the active Laymen in the Circuit, by the arrival of 
many tried and true men from England. Messrs. Pascoe 


and Beaver were Circuit Stewards during the changeful 
year, 1853, and Messrs. W. Powell and Cooke, in the years 
1854-5; when Mr.W. Powell removed, Mr. 0. Parnham took 
his office. In those years we note on the list of 
officials :— Messrs. R. Hodgson, J. Bromley, Gardiner, 
Stevens, King, Davis, A. Eraser, RadclitF, Roden, Kendall, 
Bell, Marshall, the most of whom had come from Tasmania 
or the old country, and became men of influence in our 
Church in these and after days. Others could be named, 
as Leonard Robinson, J. M'Cutcheon, W. G. R. Stephenson, 
J. K. Powell, who came about this time, and gave valuable 
support by their abilities and means to the rising 
cause. The Rev. James Bickford had arrived and succeeded 
Mr. Sweetman in the Brighton Circuit. The Rev. John 
Eggleston took the Superintendency of the Melbourne West 
Circuit in March, 1854, and the services of the Rev. 
B. S. Walker were secured, about the middle of the year, 
for the oversight, more particularly, of the growing societies 
of Brunswick and Pentridge (now Coburg). The number 
of members for this circuit was 528 at the end of 1854, 
with 31 on trial. The finances were flourishing. Dr. 
Cutts came to the colony, and began the practice of his 
profession at this time. He, with Mr. R. Hodgson, has 
been identified with the interests, burdens, and affairs of 
Wesley Church for a greater length of time than any other 
layman. He has also represented our Church at the 
University Council, the Denominational School Board, 
The Trustees of Savings Banks, and on several Royal 
Commissions. His influence, time, and professional 
skill have been ungrudgingly given to forward the interests 
of our Church in Melbourne and the colony. He 
has also sustained most offices that a Layman can 
hold. His friend, Mr. R.. Hodgson, a devoted Class 
Leader, effective Local Preacher, and most steady worker, 
has recently gone to his heavenly reward. He was 
in most respects a model of the trusty servant of the 
Church, who, like "the beloved Gains," " doest faithfully 


whatsoever thou doest." He passed away to the land of 
rest in 1885. 

The Rev. John Eggleston's name is greatly revered by all 
who knew him. We do not regard his first term in Mel- 
bourne as his most successful years ; but he was a devoted 
man and earnest preacher of the Gospel. He was of the 
School represented in England by men of the second and 
third generation of Methodists, such as W. Bramwell, D, 
Stoner, and John Smith. Much given to prayer, and living 
in close communion with God ; diligent in studies and 
pastoi'al duties ; concentrating thoughts and energies into 
the one groove of soul-saving, and that in the Revivalist 
forms, these men wei'e living flames of ardent zeal, 
and very successful in turning sinners to righteousness. 
John Eggleston was one of them. His preaching probed 
the conscience, and searched the heart. His fidelity applied 
the moral law as a rule of life, and test of conduct, and 
sounded the alarm of its terrors to those who came short of 
its standard. Some thought he dwelt too much on its 
fiery judgments ; but he could comfort as well as terrify. 
His Gospel notes were sweet as angel's music. His sermons 
were well thought out, and very forcible in their closing 
appeals. As he was a witness of entire sanctification, gifted 
above the average in those qualities of a preacher which 
have most prevailed in Methodist communities, and knew 
right well how to use the " Sword of the Spirit, the Word 
of God," some have wondered that he was not uniformly 
successful. His term in some Circuits was compara- 
tively barren of those striking results, which came in 
other Circuits in rich abundance. In the fire and fervour 
of his youth, he had been made a signal blessing in Hobart 
and South Australia. His middle life was spent in Victoria 
and New South Wales. His later period, whilst full of 
mental and physical \dgour, yet afflicted by failing sight, 
was given in the ripe maturity of sanctified wisdom and 
sterling piety to Circuits in Victoria. Like another John, he 
was a Boanerges, and a saintly Divine. His youthful friend, 


who, in the outset of his Ministry, was said to have much of 
his spirit and style, the Rev. J. W. Crisp, was his colleague 
in Ministerial work in the year 1855, and then girded himself 
for that Christian warfare, which he has boldly and success- 
fully carried on through many years. With strong men 
like Messrs. Butters, Eggleston, Waugh, Symons, and 
Bickford, leading and marshalling her hosts, through God's 
gracious blessing, Methodism was recovering from the 
shocks which the onset of Mammon's impetuous forces had 
given, was turning the tide of battle, and winning some 
victories, but was also preparing for moi-e pronounced and 
signal ones in tlie future. Under the guidance and manage- 
ment of Mr. Butters, and through the support of his 
coadjutors, both clerical and lay, Methodism had passed 
safely through the throes of a social revolution, and emerged, 
not only unharmed, but more powerful for good than 
before. In this eventful crisis of affairs, she had proved 
her sound qualities and great capabilities to those who tried 
her, and to those who watched her. No Church had shown 
greater adaptability to the times in meeting the spiritual 
wants and emergencies of shoals of persons, thrown into 
unwonted circumstances, and placed in altogether new 
conditions of social life. The body politic underwent a 
convulsion, which tried the foundations of law, order, 
morals, and social economics ; and the ecclesiastical body was 
put into a fiery crucible, but came out the purer and 
stronger through good qualities inherent in it. It was like 
passing through a period of sickness, and a sound constitu- 
tion getting the better of it, when not only are bad 
humours thrown off, but the vigour of youth comes back, 
and health, more robust than before, is gained. This 
renewing of youthful strength to the Church was because 
her sources of supply and fount of life were in the heart of 
God. Through the Divine mercy the Church had been 
preserved, increased, blessed ; yet had also been made a 
great blessing unto others. She was an ark of safety to 
many, when an inundation of greed, mammon-serving, 


disorder, outrage, drunkenness, and bad morals, threatened 
to overflow the land. Like our Australian gum-tree, in its 
remedial qualities, the Church was a means of purifying in 
a pestilential atmosphere, and a purveyor of health in some 
death-dealing regions. The districts where it was planted, 
were all the better for its presence, and notably where 
moral miasma was rife. 



The wlieels of time and of the itinerancy had gone round, 
bringing a new Minister to the head of affairs in Melbourne 
in 1855. Mr. Butters had departed to Adelaide in the 
month of March, bearing with him flattering testimonials 
to his Ministerial worth, and the hearty prayers of the 
people for his prosperity in his new field of labour. His 
successor had arrived in the person of the Rev. D. J. 
Draper, who was every way fitted to rank beside him in 
shrewd sense, and careful management of men and things ; 
but was scarcely as effective in his pulpit services. Never- 
theless, suri'ounded by good men, trained in a good school, 
habituated to the direction of Methodist affairs, which had 
prospered very greatly under him in South Australia, Mr. 
Di'aper wisely directed the machinery and measures of the 
Church, and was largely the agent of its consolidation and 
increase in the immediately succeeding decade of years. He 
had attended the first Australasian Conference, in company 
with his compeers and bi^ethren, which had been held in 
Sydney in January of this year of grace, 1855. That had 
been a memorable Conference, which affected materially 
Victorian Methodism in the arrangemeut of stations, and in 
the first exercise of self-governing control and power in the 
newly-constituted Church. Nevertheless, as it was not 
held within the bounds of this colony, this reference to it 


may suffice. It made the transfer of Mr. Butters to 
Adelaide, and Mr. Draper to Melbourne ; and the latter 
proved himself worthy of his important trust, as the 
ecclesiastical head, for the time being, of the vigorous 
Methodism of the land. The arrangement, which had been 
tried in 1854, of setting the Chairman of the District free 
from Circuit affairs, was not continued in the succeeding 
year, hence Mr. Draper had charge of the Melbourne East 
(Collingwood) Circuit, and was chaplain at the Wesleyan 
Home, but in 1856, he was freed from Circuit work. His 
frequent journeys in the interior for the ovei-siglit of the 
rapidly spreading Church, which was entering on new fields 
of labour month by month, are narrated in Mr. Symons' 
" Life of Mr. Draper." The book contains a good review of 
the Methodist story of these years 1852-64, and is a 
painstaking compilation. 

We can well understand that these Ministers would be 
true yokefellows in the work of the Collingwood Circuit. 
Mr. Symons, as the junior, duly reported "that the roof of 
Northcote Chapel had been blown off during the terrific 
gale" of May 27th. Then a short time afterwards Mr. 
Draper " rode to Northcote, and visited several families 
and solicited money for the enlargement of the Chapel." 
He would get a cheery response to his solicitation as North- 
cote then had, as now, several respectable, affluent, and 
liberal families connected with its Wesleyan Methodism, 
and the two Ministers reioiced together in bringing subse- 
quently to a successful issue, the projected enlargement of 
the Chapel. The two colleagues were both possessed of 
good " common sense," and duly prized it in themselves 
and others. They were both instructive preachers, and 
clear-headed men. They were both blessed with excellent 
wives, ladylike, cheery, active, good. They both loved 
music, and promoted good instrumental music and congre- 
gational singing in the Church service. A man, like Mr. 
Spensley, who was superintendent of Brunswick-street Sab- 
bath school, and, by his gift and love of song, was putting 


new tone and tune into that school, and thereby making it 
(with other means) very attractive to the young people, 
had in that method, the warmest encouragement from the 
two Circuit Ministers. Mr. Symons showed also his shrewd 
wisdom in dealing with unruly scholars. In that school, 
about this time, were three brothers two of whom gave great 
trouble to their teachers and the superintendent by their mis- 
conduct and insubordination, and seemed almost incorrigible. 
Their expulsion was discussed in the Teachers meeting, but 
Mr. Symons' great influence went on the side of a longer trial 
of them, and he prevailed. The sequel showed the wisdom 
of a patient dealing -sWth them. For, one became a promis- 
ing Wesleyan Minister, but died after a short career of 
Ministerial service ; another has been a pillar of our Church 
and representative member ; the third has been a most 
efficient State school Teacher and Local Preacher, steady, 
talented, and trusted. During the time of Mr. Symons' 
labour in this Melbourne East Circuit, a youth was con- 
verted to God, who afterwards became a "Wesleyan Minister, 
and for the year 1885 was the respected President of the 
New South Wales and Queensland Conference. Mr. Nolan 
stated, at the time of his ordination to the Christian 
Ministry, " that when Mr. Symons was pastor of the Bruns- 
wick-street Church, he became first a scholar in the Sunday 
school, then a regular hearer in the Church. Before long 
he was led to feel his need of a Saviour. One Sabbath 
evening, on retiring from the prayer-meeting, one of the 
Church members who had noticed his seriousness, entered 
into conversation ^vith him. As they walked up Bruns- 
wick-street, his friend explained to him the faith of the 
man with the withered hand, and he assured him that if, 
like that man, he made the efibrt, like him he should receive 
the power. His friend left him at the end of Brunswick- 
street, and in crossing from thence to Collins-street, where 
there were then no buildings, except the Church and the 
school, he (Mr. Nolan) resolved to take the advice just 
given; and taking off his cap, he cast his soul on Jesus. 


He made the effort, and he did receive the power." The 
teacher's penchant for minute detail, appears to have seized 
the disciple when he gave this description, and this illustra- 
tion (possibly of his reverence of spirit), in taking off his 
cap. But the disciple is a man of whom any teacher might 
be proud : genial, earnest, warm-hearted, a faithful friend, a 
successful Minister, beloved by both Ministers and people. 
"We cannot state how Mr. Draper would have felt had he 
seen a young convert tossing up his cap out of joy or 
reverence, nor whether he himself had given any example 
in that line ; but we can surmise how he felt when his own 
hat blew off in Collins-street, and a young friend ran 
after it for a good distance and brought it back to him, for 
then Mr. Draper, with a twinkle in liis eye, and a pecuKar 
tone in his voice, said, " I do not know, Mr. Stephinson 
how to thank you sufficiently, for of all the sights that 
appear to me ridiculous, that of a stout man, with short 
legs, chasing his hat along a crowded street on a windy 
day, beats all, and you have saved me from cutting that 
pretty figure." Mr. Draper was glad to be spared from 
exhibiting on foot, as observed of all observers in crowded 
Collins-street, any of the peculiarities of John Gilpin's ride 
to Edmonton. He had a rich vein of humour, as well as a 
keen sense of the ridiculous. When Mr. Draper was in 
South Australia, although he was a good horseman, yet on 
one occasion, when riding in company with Mr. Dare, he 
was thrown from his horse. He fell on a sand heap, from 
which rising immediately, he, pointing to the impression 
which his stout figure had made on the sand, exclaimed, 
" Look here. Dare, D. J. Draper, his mark." The man who 
was so calm and heroic when he and others were afterwards 
in awful perils on the deep, had been full of mirth at his 
own somewhat ridiculous adventures on the land. He used 
to tell with great glee about an anonymous letter which he 
had received, commenting on his style of preaching thus : — 
"Dear Mr. Draper — Permit me to give tliis unasked for 
advice respecting your preaching ; condense ! condense ! 



condense ! more thoughts, fewer words ! A Well-wisher." 
The good man's style on Sundays, and when he had care- 
fully prepared, was somewhat open to criticism, yet, strange 
to say, on the week night, when he gave a sermon, he 
would talk in a quiet, fatherly, somewhat conversational 
style, which differed greatly from the verbose and involved 
sentences which at times marked his more elaborate efforts. 
This man, who could be grave and gay, lively and severe, was 
a distinguished leader in our Israel in this progressive period 
of its history. His fidus Achates, Mr. Symons, was his 
counsellor in all public questions, as well as helper in all 
Circuit work. On questions of City or Chinese Missions, 
Home or Foreign work, Grammar school or Day school 
education, temperance or literature, the Book Depot, or the 
Wesley Church, discussed in these years by Mr. Draper, in 
committee or in public, -with fellow Ministers, the Govern- 
ment of the Day, or the general public, this faithful hench- 
man and colleague was at his elbow, and a sound adviser 
was at his ear ; when wanted for public controversy a more 
ready combatant could not be found. Mr. Symons is of a 
pugnacious disposition, self-reliant, and dogmatic ; and can 
give vigorous blows in the polemics of theological warfare, 
or in the discussion of civil strife. He was dubbed by a 
facetious brother, " our senior wrangler." But whilst he is 
hard-hitting, tenacious in his opinions, rather intolerant 
towards those who differ from him, he is a fair, and, often, 
a generous adversary. He may be rough on you in 
his speech, but is very kind in liis acts. War is 
frequent in his words, brotherly love is in his heart. No 
one is more free to do a service, or to put himself to 
greater inconvenience in doing so. It may be to take 
an appointment at a moment's notice, travel a great 
distance, lecture, preach, write, put his hand in his 
pocket for help, and make a munificent gift, cover with 
a forgiving mantle your sins, or stand with his shield to 
defend you in all these and other ways of brotherly 
service, no one is more free than Mr. Symons. He 


is also painstaking in finances, Circuit business, and 
general aiiairs. 

The yearly Conference was held in 1856 in Melbourne, 
and commenced on Thursday, January 24th. The President 
was again the Rev. W. B. Boyce, and the Rev. W. Butters 
was secretary. Twenty-six Ministers were present, amongst 
them as new arrivals in Victoria, Revs. William L. Binks, 
Geo. B. Richards, and also Thomas Williams appointed 
to South Australia, for the time being. Five were received 
as probationers in Victoria : — Revs. Henry Chester, John 
Catterall, Martin Dyson, Thomas James, and John Me^vton. 
In the stations Mr. Binks was appointed to Collins-street ; 
Mr. Bickf ord to Brighton ; Mr. Albiston to Williamstown ; 
Mr. Richards, as the colleague of Mr. Harding, at Geelong ; 
Mr. Waugh continued at St. Kilda. Amongst the rein- 
forcements of Ministers which had arrived from England 
within the last two or three years past, were several who 
had seen Foreign service in the Mission field. Messrs. 
Bickford and Binks had been in the torrid heat of the 
West Indies, and with the coloured races of British Guiana; 
Mr. Hill, among the balmy breezes, but enervated popula- 
tion of Ceylon ; Mr. Wells, amidst the Arctic regions of 
Newfoundland ; and Messrs. Raston, Hart, and Richards, in 
the deadly climate of Western Africa. The numbers 
reported were : — Melbourne West, 222 ; East, 425 ; South, 
124; Brighton, 159 ; Williamstown, 29; Pentridge, 146 ; and 
for the colony, 2328, being an increase of 373 members on 
the year. The Australasian Church had now 8338 members 
of the white races in the colonies, and 12,830 of the dark 
races in the Mission field. In Victoria were 72 Sabbath 
schools, with 4497 scholars, and 54 Day schools, 3517 
scholars. The cause of Day school education had made 
great extension, and the Wesleyan Church exceeded any 
other denomination in her efibrts to provide it. But now 
great trouble arose from the action of the Government 
of the day in returning to a former basis of distribution of 
the Government aid, it being proportioned according to the 


number of adherents of the Church returned in the census. 
This acted very prejudicially to the Wesley an Church, as she 
had about one fourteenth of the population, but about one- 
fifth of the scholars in schools under the Denominational 
Board. After great efforts on the part of the Chairman of 
the District and the Wesleyan Education Committee, some 
concession was obtained, which enabled the bulk of the 
schools to be maintained, but other schools had to be 
abandoned, and efforts for extension were greatly crippled. 
The inequities iia distribution of the grant, gradually brought 
the Wesleyan authorities to favour the supersession of the 
two Boards which had been constituted (the National and 
the Denominational) by the one Board, which was estab- 
Kshed by the Heales " Common Schools Act" in 1862. 
The question of support to Day schools occupied much of 
the time of the Education Committee and the District 
Meeting in 1856. In 1856 Messrs. Parnham and F. 
Cooper were Circuit Stewards, and Messrs. Woodfin and 
Curtis appear on the Official list in the Melbourne West 
Circuit. In 1857 appear Messrs. Tapley, M'Gregor, Jami- 
son, Pentland and Hadley. In the early part of 1857, 
Revs. Edward King, C. Dubourg, and C. Lane arrived in 
the colony, and have since given much devoted service to 
our Church. Churches in Flemington, Footscray, and 
Albion, were erected ; also one of stone at North Mel- 
bourne, the former one being used as a school. Messrs. 
Hadley and M'Gregor in due time became members of the 
Legislative Assembly in Victoria. Mr. Pentland entered 
the Ministry in another Christian Church. Mr. Jamison 
has been a most valued -and useful officer in Moorabbin. 
Messrs. Baird and W. G. R. Stephinson were recommended 
to the Ministry from the Melbourne Circuit. After a year or 
two Mr. Baird entered the Presbyterian Church, and has been 
the respected Pastor of a Church in Geelong. ' Mr. Stephinson 
has spent a long and useful career in the Friendly Islands 
and in New South Wales. The active mind of Mr. Binks, 
as Superintendent in these years, found full scope in the 


ordinary Circuit work, and in many projects for building 
Churches, and in this he had valued assistance in Mr. 
Crisp for one year, and experienced counsel and help from 
Rev. W. P. Wells, his colleague in the following year. 
Soon the minds of Messrs. Binks and Wells, in conjunction 
with Mr. Draper, engaged in a scheme which told greatly 
upon the extension of the Church in Melbourne, the sale 
of the Collins-street property and the subsequent building 
of the present Wesley Church. 

Mr. Binks has made a name for his Church buildings, 
having, as much as anyone, the credit of the erection of 
Wesley Church, Brunswick-street Church, and (^vith the Rev. 
John Cope) of the present Lydiard-street Church, Ballarat, 
three of the finest ecclesiastical edifices belonging to our 
Church in Victoria ; but he is also, in other respects, a 
beloved and faithful Minister, and a wise Superintendent. 
He is shrewd, active, vivacious, a ready speaker, with a 
clear and emphatic delivery, keen in reading character and 
men, ready in resource in the management of measures, 
sagacious in counsel, and much resorted to by others in 
perplexity and difficulty, and, therefore, he has been a 
leading man in piloting the affairs of the Church in this 
last thirty years. He has much unction and power in 
prayer, gives a thoughtful sermon which, though it may not 
rise into eloquence, always tells upon the ear and heart, 
because of the clear tones of his voice and his forcible utter- 
ance of appropriate Gospel truths, takes cai-e of the young 
men of his congregations, and by his firmness, readiness, 
tenderness, and activity, is almost the beau ideal of a 
judicious Superintendent. He laid his hand upon the wi-iter 
of this chapter, and sent him into the Wesleyan Ministry. 
This year, 1857, besides Messrs. Baird and Stephinson, 
three others, Messrs. John Atkin, W. L. Blamires, and F. 
Langham stood together at the District Meeting for 
examination, as to their call to, and qualifications for, the 
Christian Ministry. Mr. Blamires has spent the interven- 
ing years in various Circuits of Victoria. Mr. Langham 


has grrea Idie flov^r a£ his days, and the best eDei]gies of 
ha cafae, yel anive Bund to the Missian vork in Fiji, 
■ hue for jeais past he has been TbrtaaQ]r tin Wesle van 
Biahn p, and has mm a aame for setf-denjii^ seal, saactified 
w iahi , and a dervled Climriaii lifie^ acknovled^ed bj afl 
ciasBBSvho know- him, and aeeoad to none who have Ummd 
far this laal third a€ a ohiImiv in that interesting portaon a€ 
tkeSosAhSeaMisEaana. He is a£ the best trpe o£ CSuistian 
Missiananes^ The staff of Ministprs was also ranforred 
bgr tiie amial of Re^ W. Hopkins W S. Worth and 
WmiaB Woodall, in the eartr pad of 1n>S. Tbe Rer. 
J. S. WsD^ who had been to Irdand on a visit, and manied 
hisiiiliMiTiif wife, had retined to the coioBT in March, 1S5^. 
The Wed^an Cknmieie was started in Jolj. 15o7. azkd 
was a aaaaD wmthlj UMigaiinp of Chvrch and miseeDaaeoQS 
lilaatiu e^ des^ned for Methodist and other readers. TIm 
editnrship was first in the hands of the Rev. Isaac HaidiB^ 
^ho was sa cc eeded in April 1858, by the Rev. Jsmcb & 
Waa^^ Under their care it has been a good dcCenee 
■gainiit aasailairts of MethodiaaB and of duiitianitT ; and a 
■eeord of eontcmponneoas events which b proring 18081 
^alaafale to the wntets of this namtiTe. ExpositBom of 
QttiplM e, a rich fand of aneedote, brief biogmphies of 
d e pa rt ed worries, aeeoants of Chvrch morenMala, critaqaea 
OM national and eedesiastieal a&irs. vary its interestii^ 
pnges^ Its fiterarj afatlitT varies, but "*»"■*«"'■ a good 
■hmdird on the whole. In the first three or fo«r rears of 
its existenee^ we note eontribations froB the pens of 
Measrs. Dnqier, Waaigh, Harding, WeQs, Tarior, Srwatmm, 
IfairhiM, Do^son, Btanres, and others. This C hiuih , 
tram Wesley's dars, has been aetire in spreading titentnre^ 
aa weD as p n awntii i g edneatBoa. *'More H^*" is * 
with it, whether the "wxe s a ujUias* 
Of set pmp o ae , it diffbaes knowledge, 
fm i wIi B g tibat then a better kind of d e vo ti on and 
life^ other things beii^ eqaal, wiD fdlow. So in a 
two onward, the Weslejan Book Depdt was estab- 


lifhed, bemg aiied. both in the bmldin^ and stock accoimts, 
by the wise and mnnifioent libetaJity of Mr. Walter FowelL 
This saoie geniJemaxi had a large shafe in promoting a 
aphawtid faaxaarwhidiivas h^ mFefamary, 1858, in aid of 
the contpamJated Wesky CVdIege Bailding. He gave a 
laige (MmtribiitKHi, ^&500, and laid it oat to good advantage 
in purchase of artides in the hinne country, whidi aug- 
mented crmsideraMy ibe Talne of fads donation in iJie safes 
aftn^rards effected ha^. This effiirt in the haa& of 1««jii-ng 
Minist^s in Melboame and of Mesrs. IN". Grnthiidge, A. 
Eraser, J. Webb, W. litde, J. Whitney, T. Yasey, S. 
Winiaj, Dr. Cutts, and A. Andeison, -was hooo^i to a, 
snoeessfal issue, realisios £1925. a most sabstantMl aid 
to the institxiti<«i. 

But tbe erent -wiuch -Bras ile iii:';t nc'-a'-iue of iLis f-eriz-d 
"was the provision of Churches fcr the ii-creasizig pojttuari'jn 
of the city and suburbs. The o^nsiis of March, 1857, 
showed the population of the z-oi'jnj vo Ite exclusive of 
Chinese), ^85,34-2, a great leaz from th^ n-oml^ers of 77,.S4:5 
in 1851, and of 238,776 in 1854. The Wesleyan Methodists 
had increased from 1-5,284 in 1S54 to 28,0C>0 in 1857. At 
this time, 1857, the Methodists bwe nearly the same pro- 
prartian to the city p<ywl«tion, as was shown by the relative 
peroentajge ai the whoJe calimy — aJboot 7 per cent. To 
make a soitaUe jKOTisiiHi of Glmrdk aceanmodatixm gave 
cmtinaed cxmeem to the leading Minisieirs and other 
olfiduils. A happy suggestikm. <^ Mr. D. Miaeartfa]ii;''s, taking 
£onn and activity in the fertile brain of the Rev. D. J. 
Drap^", put thexQ in the way of a mnst excellent scheiae 
for an inoreaae of Glmrdli boildii^ in the mfettrapolis, idiieii 
dioald be of £ner arcfaiftectoiai af^iearanoe and of la rge r 
space ihaok those already boilt. It was to si^ the Gollms- 
slreeA jHx^erty, and with the prooee^ fauiid, or hdip to 
fauld, several Chordies. This was aooixdin^y dgrae, fer tbe 
land with hoase and bailding tbanecm, ea c ee pt the Clrardv 
sold for £40,000. By this sum tbe W«sl^ Clnreli anl 
Paistmage was erected, and important aid w«s given in tihe 


building of Churches at North Melbourne, Emerald Hill, St. 

Kilda, Brunswick-street (Fitzroy), and elsewhere. The site 

for the Wesley Church has proved an unfortunate one, not 

well to be discerned at the time of its erection ; but the 

building is a handsome commodious structure in the 

decorated Gothic style, with a tower at one front entrance 

rising to the height of 100 feet, and surmounted by an 

octagonal spire, 75 feet high. It is estimated to seat 1700 

persons, and is one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in 

the Southern Hemisphere. Of late years, it has not been a 

success as a parish Church, but it has served grandly as a 

central Church and Cathedral. Owing to the movement, 

taking place in large cities, of respectable families farther 

from the centre to the suburbs, the ordinary congregation 

is small for the size of the building, but it is swollen to 

vast numbers upon important occasions, and at Connexional 

services. It is a central spot, to which masses of Methodists 

come from the radiating suburbs, when a service of 

more than ordinary interest takes place. Good Mission 

work has been faithfully done amongst the demoralized 

classes which are not far from the Church, The opening 

services were marked by a high tone of spirituality and 

blessed results. The officiating Ministers were Revs. Dr. 

Cairns, Isaac New, William Butters, and Joseph Dare, 

who gave impressive and eloquent discourses. August 26th 

and 29th were red letter days in the Methodist Kalendar, 

as this beautiful edifice was set apart for Divine worship. 

This was the epoch of substantial Church building. One 

was opened at Fitzroy -street, St. Kilda, on September 19th, 

1858; another at North Melbourne on June 5th, 1859; 

another in Brunswick-street in 1860; one at Emerald Hill 

in 1864 ; and yet another at Prahran, September 20th, 

1864 ; besides minor ones at Sackville-street, 1857; Fitzroy- 

street, 1858, in the Melbourne East Circuit, and at other 

places. The transfer of the Collins-street land was not 

efiected Avithout the trouble and expense of an Act of 

Parliament. Some difficulty was met in obtaining the 


full amount of purchase money ; harassing anxieties and 
additional outlay were occasioned by the failure of con- 
tractors in those trying times, in the erection of the Wesley 
and St. Kilda Churches ; but the result repaid the toil, 
anxiety, and cost in the stately and commodious structures, 
which in so many centres of population made such extended 
pro\T.sion for the public worship of God. Wesley Church 
has been often the place of gathering for our solemn feasts, 
and the praises of God in festival joy have gone up there- 
from to the vaulted arches of heaven. It has been to many 
an altar of consecration to God ; a place of ordination to 
the Christian Ministry for our young and God-commis- 
sioned men ; a Bethesda of healing to numbers that have 
come within its porches, and a Bethel of God's presence to 
multitudes gathered together in its temple worship — " None 
other than the house of God, and the gate of Heaven." 
May the pointed spire of this Church be long an index and 
symbol of the heavenward aspiration of the worshippers 
assembling under the roof ; be as a conducting rod which 
shall take harmless to the earth, heaven's lightning wrath, 
that might otherwise scathe the surrounding population for 
the abominations of the city ; be the outward sign of the 
invisible grace of earnest pleading, oftered within the walls, 
like to those of Abraham on behalf of guilty Sodom, to 
deprecate and turn away the deserved judgments of God ; 
be a height which, like the mountain peak, shall arrest 
the clouds of heaven's blessing, and precipitate their 
fatness of fertility upon the adjacent lands ; be as a minaret 
ft'om whence shall issue the Christian's daily call to prayer ; 
be as a pointer to the polestar, guiding many a heaven- 
bound mariner over life's tumultuous waves ; and be as a 
staff, heaven-pointing and heaven-piercing, from whence 
shall be borne aloft the flag of heaven's kingdom, the rally- 
ing point of those who strike for spii'itual liberty, and of 
those who would mount by Christian worship on earth to 
a place near the throne of God in heaven ! 




The period 1858 to 1865, inclusively, was pre-eminently one 
of revival. But ere we recount any summary or details in 
revival work, let us remark on some other events worthy to 
be noted. The Ministry had received additions to its 
ranks in Revs. Thomas Williams, George Daniel, J. S. H. 
Royce, and Alfred Rigg, who had been Missionai-ies in the 
Fiji, Friendly, and Navigator Islands, and by their faithful 
service had largely contributed to the spread of Christianity 
and the growth of Christian Churches in those fair isles. 
Mr. Williams was already in well-deserved repute for his 
graphic and picturesque account of " Fiji and the Fijians," 
which is the great authority on the subject. The Rev. John 
G. Millard had been transferred from New South Wales. 
He is an eloquent and popular preacher. His honhoimnie 
and facetiousness make him good company. If wit and 
apt repartee belong to the cloth, surely he has wrapped 
himself in a large mantle of it. Traditions of these things, 
which cling to such men as Sydney Smith, Rowland Hill, 
and Jesse Lee, will probably in our after times cling to 
John G. Millard. But he has also been successful in the 
great Master's work. Francis Neale, coming from the 
home country, innnediately after his arrival commenced 
his active Ministry, which has been continued to this time. 
Mr. Neale, with a physical frame in strong contrast to Mr. 
Millard's, is somewhat akin to him in popular eloquence. 
Choice, well-balanced sentences, set in poetical fonii, given 
forth with clear tones and attractive style, serve to convey 
good ideas and sound Scriptural instruction to their hearers. 
Both write poetry, and Mr. Millard's fertile brain has com- 
posed some rhymes in dreams of the night. He is the author 
of a Victoria Jubilee Ode. The Rev. James D. Dodgson 
came to these shores as an invalid, having been for some 
time in the Ministry in England. He has regained his 


health, and has been a most acceptable preacher in Circuit 
work. Thoughtful, sound, keeping close to Wesleyan 
theology in his sermons, fairly energetic in his delivery, 
with a pleasing address ; he, nevertheless, is precise, wanting 
in abandonment to the enthusiasm of the moment, slavishly 
keeping to a prepared line of thought and verbiage which 
mark a memoriter preacher. We are not positive that Mr. 
Dodgson is the latter style of preacher ; but we think so. God 
has employed him as a winner of souls. The Rev. Edwin 
I. Watkin, Jesse Carey, R. Osborne Cook, Edward B. Burns, 
are Colonial men, who have for the most part spent their 
Ministerial career in this colony, and have been a credit to 
Victorian Methodism. Mr. Watkin is of superior gifts as 
a preacher, very genial in spirit, plodding, and painstaking 
in his diligent labours as a Circuit Preacher and Pastor, 
has won great popularity, and is now the respected Presi- 
dent of Wesley College. He has not taken up the ornate 
style of some Ministers mentioned before, but is known for 
his terse, pregnant sentences in speaking and composition,, 
his homely common sense, and his abundant, often quaint,, 
and humourous anecdotes. He answers more to the model 
of Samuel Coley, than any other prominent man in our 
Victorian Ministry. Entering the Ministerial ranks in 
these years, and beginning to try their powers, are — 
Ebenezer Taylor, Robert S. Bunn, Andrew Inglis, Henry 
Baker, Francis E. Stephenson, W. Weston, Thomas Edmeades^ 
A. R. Fitchett, Albert Stubbs, Lorimer Fison, M.A., James 

A. Taylor, David Annear, James. W. Tuckfield, Jabez. 

B. Stephenson, With varying gifts, they have been 
earnest labourers in the vineyard of the Lord. Some 
of them were connected with Victoria but a short time. 
Three went to New Zealand, three to South Australia ; 
others have given part of their Ministerial service to Tas- 
mania and Fiji. 

Laymen worthy of some place in the Church's roll of 
remembrance are Mr. Hyde, a Class Leader at Lonsdale- 
street and in Fitzroy, who could not be beguiled to the 


diggings, but stood firm at his post in that exciting time. 
(1851-5) Mr. William Ellis was a Secretary and Superinten- 
dent, much beloved in "Wesley Church Sunday school. Mr. 
John M'Cutcheon, talented and active, was a labourer with 
him in the school. His brother, Robert, younger than he, has 
occupied a good place in Methodism. " Grandfather " 
Joseph Lowe, with his many sons, ought to have a niche in 
any temple of Methodist fame or story. He was the 
spiritual father of the Rev. Nathaniel Turner, and was 
always on the outlook to do good to young men. Kindly, 
genial, sterling, prayerful, " an old disciple." His sons, 
James and Joseph, are steady pillars of the Church, and of 
this family, William, the son, and James and David S. Lowe, 
the grandsons, are useful Ministers. Mr. Samuel G. King 
■came into prominence as the Superintendent of the Sunday 
school at Hotham, and the Trustee most active in bearing 
the financial burdens of that Church. With some masterful 
style, probably acquired at the head of a large business, he 
is yet intelligent, hearty, most generous and free in his 
gifts, a good Committee man, a most earnest supporter of 
our institutions, an active friend to young men. Mr. 
Hotchin, his brother-in-law, has been an acceptable Local 
Preacher, and is the present courteous manager of our 
Bo»k Depot. Mr. A. J. Smith, has been a Class Leader for 
many years in Melbourne and vicinity, the first to start a 
■class in Carlton, and in many departments of work he has 
brought to bear a kindly intelligence, and a warm Christian 
heart. Mr. James T. Harcourt, as an officer of the Church, 
and Member of Parliament, has sympathised with religious 
growth and social advance. Mr. T. J. Crouch is the man, 
with the Hon. Alexander Eraser, who has been longest 
identified with our interests, in the St. Kilda Circuit. He 
■apparently likes debate, as the war horse the battle, is 
ready as a speaker, and enterprising as a man. The Hon. 
A. Fraser has been an influential Layman, as a Class 
Leader, Church Treasurer, Member of Legislative Council, 
and for a short time the Minister of Public Works. Space 


fails to tell of other good men and true, Messrs. Bee, 
Newman, Whitford, E. John, Allan Nicol, Parr, Martin, 
Bedggood, Pollard (of Richmond), Courtis, M'Callum, 
John Webb, N. Wimble, E. Oakley, H. Cornell, Patterson, 
E. Stranger, J. Swan, Johnson, and others, who for a 
greater or less lengthened period have stood by, in activity 
and fidelity, the cause of God, as represented in the 
Methodism of Melbourne and its immediate neighbour- 
hood. The van standards of the host may have been 
borne aloft by the Ministers, but these worthy Laymen 
also stood by the colours, and led on the marshalled 
regiments to contest and victory. 

We may refer to two welcome visitors from the British 
Conference, whose stay for a short period was in the years 
under review. The Rev. Dr. Jobson came as the represen- 
tative of the Home Conference, being known by face or 
fame to many Methodists, and bringing with him a high 
repute as a fervent Minister, with a picturesque style of 
description, who had exercised for years a successful, soul- 
saving Ministry. He arrived in Hobson's Bay on December 
14th, 1860. His stay was a fortnight, during which, 
mostly in the company of Mr. Draper, he visited Ballarat, 
Geelong. and other places in the interior ; besides looking 
at the Churches and places of interest in and around the 
metropolis. His platform addresses were not, in our 
opinion, up to the level of his sermons. His sermons were 
evangelical, full of fire, searching, practical, hortatory, and 
persuasive, and that preached at the opening of Brunswick- 
street Church, on March 10th, 1861, will live in the 
memory of many, and was instrumental in leading some 
souls into the enjoyment of Christ's salvation, 

The Rev. E. E. Jenkins, M.A., was a Minister of a 
different intellectual mould. He never uttered in public a 
slip-shod sentence, nor indulged in much of small talk, 
although he was genial, free, and sociable in private. His 
sentences were crisp, cleai", and incisive, made up of vigorous 
thought, in picked, packed words. His is a master mind, 


and he brought gifts and resources of no mean order to the 
elucidation of Gospel truth in all his discourses. They 
attracted large numbers of hearers of all denominations, 
who invariably declared they had a rich treat and feast of 
the bread and marrow of Gospel doctrine, promise, and 
precept, in the repast he set before them. His lectures on 
India, and his platform speeches wei'e all of that first-class 
character. Original and profound thought, with a suitable 
and masterly style of expression, marked almost every 
sermon that he gave. His published discourses, some of 
them heard with great profit in Victoria, rank with 
Dr. Pope's subtle, strong, beautiful expositions of Holy 
Writ, as of the best class that the Methodist Ministry and 
Press have sent forth in these later days. He came to this 
colony in June, 1863, and stayed until the end of January, 
1864. The Rev. E. E. Jenkins is one of the General Secre- 
taries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society in London, and 
was in 1872 the President of the British Conference. 

The changes in Ministerial appointments had brought 
the Rev. John B. Smith from Tasmania to Victoria in 1860, 
and this Minister has since that year laboured in various 
Circuits with diligence and fidelity. He is well-known as 
a frequent contributor to the Methodist Press, having given 
choice products of his sympathetic spirit, fertile mind, and 
pastoral habits to various Circuits, and picturesque articles 
of his writing to the Methodist Press. The Rev. 
James Hutchison, who had been transferred from the Irish 
Conference, and had given two years of valuable pulpit 
service to the Melbourne East Circuit, was in 1861 
appointed to Launceston. The Rev. Peter R. C. Ussher 
came from South Australia in 1865. Young Ministers were 
received on probation : — Mr. James Burchett in 1864, and 
Messrs. Bolton S. Bird, Thomas F. Bird, Edward Davies, 
Robert M. Hunter, W. Jennings, in 1865. Several of 
these are talented Ministers, and all of them have obtained 
a good report as earnest servants of God and his Church. 
Messrs. Burchett and W. Jennings joined other Churches. 


Some Ministers passed from the muster roll of the Victorian 
Church. The Rev. W. Butters, in consequence of failing 
health returned, by leave of the Conference, to England in 
1863, and has spent the eve of life in a suburb of London. 
His hard toil and pioneer work had well earned a period 
of comparative repose, in the midst of troops of friends in 
the land of his birth. The Rev, W. Hill had exercised a 
most acceptable Ministry in the Melbourne Circuits, and at 
Geelong, and was appointed to the charge of the Castle- 
maine and Sandhurst District in 1863. His friend, Mr. 
E. I. Watkin has rightly and beautifully said of him : — "As 
a preacher, his praise is in all the Churches. He had clear 
and comprehensive views of Divine truth ; his mind was 
richly stored with theological and general knowledge ; his 
language was perspicuous, elegant, and eloquent. In his 
mental constitution there were harmoniously blended the 
elements of strength and acuteness, taste and imagination. 
Easy, engaging, dignified in his address, he excelled as a 
platform speaker. Some of his public addresses were noble 
specimens of sanctified eloquence." Most that are ac- 
quainted with the history of this colony know that he was 
struck by the murderous blow of a prisoner in the Pentridge 
Stockade, into whose cell he had gone to give spiritual 
advice, and died therefrom on May 13th, 1869. 

The decease of other Ministers of the Wesleyan Church in 
Victoria had preceded Mr. Hill's. The Rev. Walter Tregallas' 
name is the first on the obituary roll. He laboured but a 
short time in Portland, when he became afflicted with disease 
of the brain. He was removed to Melbourne, and had 
some lucid intervals, but died on July 3rd, 1856. 

Another faithful Minister was taken to his reward after 
a short but successful career in this colony. The Rev, 
Theophilus Taylor died in Ballarat on January 4th, 1859. 
Ballarat Methodism owes most to him of any Minister, as 
with enfeebled strength, he laid the foundations, broad 
and deep, of the structure of Methodism in that important 
city and gold field. His health sufiered through the 


strain of excessive labours, and for a year or two he- 
held a Supernumerary's position. His last days were 
eminently peaceful. His wife and child have, since his 
decease, been closely identified with our Church in Sydney. 
Mrs. Taylor was a noble helpmeet to her husband in his 
beloved work. 

The Rev. James Odgei's was a young Minister, who 
laboured for fifteen months in the active work, was then 
called to sufier during a prolonged sickness, which he bore 
with great patience, and eventually slept in Jesus on August 
26th, 1862. He was a youth of considerable promise. 
These having served God in their generation, deserve a 
record in the annals of the Charch. 

In 1863, Australian Methodism celebrated the Jubilee 
of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. The 
daughter owed much to the mother, and rejoiced with her 
when her Jubilee was celebrated. The occasion served to 
raise a fund which was applied mainly to Colonial purposes. 
The promises to this fund exceeded £5000 in Victoria, 
Some portion went to augment the resources of the Church 
Building Fund, and another portion was held in reserve 
until such time as the Theological Hall should be erected. 
The interest of this reserve fund has aided to meet the cost 
of training Theological students in Victoria. The meetings 
held throughout the breadth of the land were joyous and 
enthusiastic in their character, and developed a great 
liberality in the people. The lists of subscribers show the 
names of men who were the brain, and bone, and sinew of 
the Methodism of that time, and are a permanent record 
of the men of mark and worth in the difierent Circuits. 
We could wish that there had been a strong increase of the 
Missionary spirit following this celebration ; but as yet. 
Colonial is behind English Methodism in its zeal for the 
Foreign Mission cause. Would that we could write more 
to the credit of Victorian Methodism in this matter ! When 
shall the example of large hearted and perennial liberality 
evinced in this cause by the British Churches be followed 


by US 1 We have Mission fields almost at our door, grand 
in the successes won, and in the openings for further enter- 
prise. Shall we do a commensurate part towards the 
Christianizing of the nations, and colonizing of the lands 
of the Southern world ? 



The tide of Revival mercy, which in 1858 spread with 
such a swift progress over the United States of America, 
which was attended by many unwonted phenomena in 
Ireland in the following year, and which beneficially affected 
the religious life of England and most Protestant countries 
of Europe, visited also these southern shores. It came in 
lessened enei-gy, yet in that which carried spiritual health 
and salvation over the Churches of the land. The Wesleyan 
Church was largely blessed by it. She had been no 
stranger to Revivals. She is the child of Revivals, and 
has a strong liking and affinity for sound and Scriptural 
ones. These times of refreshing had come to Circuits and 
Churches, here and there, during the gold excitements, and 
had not been altogether absent from the first planting of 
the Church in the land, but were not so widespread as in 
this later period. The increase of members, which had 
been continuous in the seven years preceding 18-58, was 
then largely swelled by the influx of Methodist peojale 
from other lands. The increase from that cause should 
have been much greater ; though it was undoubtedly large. 
Now, in the years 1858-64, whilst the stream of immigra- 
tion continued, it was in a much decreased volume, and the 
exodus taking place in some years from Victoria to New 
Zealand, New South Wales, and Queensland was large, and 
consisted almost entirely of adult and able-bodied men. 


The impressions made on Mr. Draper's mind by this large 
migration of people are shown by remarks of his in a letter 
of the date, August 28th, 1861 : — "The population has been 
most unsettled, and the incessant removals are prejudicial. 
Many of our members are off to New Zealand, and numbers 
are about to follow them. The miners are the most unsettled 
class of persons I ever knew. I expect that a great 
many will never return to the colony." Again, an entry in 
his diary of September 21st, runs thus : — " The people here 
are mostly Otago monomaniacs. The rush to New Zealand 
exceeds anything I could conceive of. About two thousand 
left here in one day, and still they go. It is supposed that 
20,000 or 30,000 men will remove to the goldfields at 
Otago." So that at this time the increase of Church 
members, occasioned by the balance of immigrants over 
emigrants in favour of the colony, was a small one. But 
notable and large additions came through God's blessing 
upon ordinary services, and the Revival movements which 
now took place. 

That at Brighton may be placed in the front of our 
notice, as it was one of the earliest in order of time. The 
rising cloud of blessing appeared at a lovefeast held at 
Great Brighton, on May 22nd, 1859. The sorrow for sin 
shown by numbers expressed itself in tears and prayers for 
mercy. The Sanctuary became a Bochim, a place of weep- 
ing. Nine persons professed that night to have their 
mourning turned into joy, by the sweet assurance of God's 
reconciling love, and others went to their homes " sorrowing 
after a godly sort," and seeking the conscious salvation of 
Christ. Then special services were held daily, and private 
devotions increased in intensity and spiritual power, so that 
soon there was " a sound of abundance of rain." The work 
went on amazingly, affecting all classes, the tender child 
and the aged sire, the educated man and the unlettered 
peasant. Answers to prayer were swift or immediate 
in a wife's conversion, a husband's decision and prayerful- 
ness, and in whole families brought to love and serve God. 


*' Showers of blessing" came on devout worshippers, and on 
most of the congregations in this Circuit. The Key. E. King, 
the Superintendent, wrote, "fools may have mocked, devils 
howled for rage, as they witnessed their empire invaded, 
and the prey delivered from the mighty, devotees of order 
may have rebuked us for confusion and irregularity, icy 
stoics gazed unmoved on scenes which filled angelic bosoms 
with rapture ; but servants of the Heavenly King ' must 
speak their joys abroad,' and say, ' Praise the Lord, call 
upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make 
mention that His name is exalted ; sing unto the Lord for 
he hath done excellent things.'" The jNlinister, who had 
the lead of this movement is, in temperament, calm, placid, 
even ; in manner and spirit, courteous and kindly ; not 
given to rant, nor favouring unseemly extravagancies in 
public worship ; but he is a devout man, a faithful preacher, a 
diligent student of the Greek Testament, of sterling piety, a 
witness and embodiment of Christian holiness, and has been 
favoured, not so much with the smiles of the populace, 
but by the praises of good men, and with the benediction of 
several notable revivals under his ministry. Mr. Henry 
Baker, afterwards a Wesleyan Minister, was a leading and 
active instrument in this revival, a man filled with perfect 
love, a burning flame. The President of the Conference 
and other Ministers, came to the help of the Circuit 
Preachers, so that the good work spread to Little Brighton, 
Moorabbin, and the other places adjacent. The results of 
this religious revival were peace and goodwill where 
brethren had been at strife ; the greatly quickened piety of 
professed disciples of Christ ; the spirit of praise, prayer, 
love, self-denial, benevolence, triumphant in them : scores 
of careless, hardened sinners brought to seek the ever- 
lasting welfare of their own souls and those of their 
families and acquaintances ; many trained in godly families 
taking the important steps of religious decision and sur- 
render to Christ ; between one and two hundred new 
members added to the Churches ; and the fruits of good 


living thereafter manifesting the genuineness and power 
of the work. 

The Melbourne Circuits shared in the blessing. In 
Wesley Church many conversions took place ; at Bruns- 
wick-street Church, a great ingathering of converts was 
reported, and scenes of Pentecostal power were witnessed. 
Bruns\\dck, Richmond, and other places near, were similarly 
favoured, in more or less degree, so that it was computed 
that in the city and suburbs 200 persons had recently 
professed that faith in Christ which bringeth personal salva- 
tion. Tlie Castlemaine and Sandhurst Circuits were the 
scenes of like revival movements and power. 

At the end of the year 18.59, Drysdale was visited with 
a similar work of grace. The religious awakening and 
fervour caused groups of men and youths, who had idly 
lounged at the corners of streets and roads, or in tlie tap- 
rooms, to frequent the house of prayer. Families were 
converted. Two, four, and nine persons at a service, pro- 
fessed to find the Lord Jesus as a personal Saviour, Life, 
and Comforter. Tlie moral aspect of the district became 
astonishingly changed. A Local Preacher, Mr. S. Stoneman 
was greatly honoured of God as the means of leading many 
to His footstool, and into the enjoyment of this salvation, 
by his pointed, but quaint preaching and fervent prayers. 
The Rev. J. D. Dodgson brought his lengthened experience 
of such work in the home country, to bear upon the conduct 
and extension of the Revival. The first Revival, and 
others that have succeeded it, have made Methodism the 
strongest religious denomination in the Drysdale and Bel- 
larine District — about 42 per cent, of the population 
returning themsdves at the last census as Wesleyans. 

In 1860 and the following years, tlie Geelong Circuit had 
great prosperity under the powerful ministrations of the 
Rev. Joseph Dare, with the Revs. Joseph Albiston, and 
F. Neale and his other colleagues. Mr. Dare was singularly 
well qualified for leading on to good results those exciting 
times and scenes of popular religious fervour. He had a 


strong and mellow voice, a cheery connnanding presence, 
and an enthusiastic spirit. He could enlist the power 
of sacred song, and be a leader of the liturgy which 
deprecates deserved wrath, and swells out in bursts of 
joyous praise. He was powerful in declamation, and was 
the most acceptable popular orator that has yet appeai'ed 
in Victoria. He could not be compared with Bishop 
Moorhouse in that strong masteiy of his subject, power 
of rejoinder, and wealth of knowledge which the latter 
applies to his pulpit and platform utterances. He 
was not so finished an elocutionist as the Rev. Charles 
Clark, but he could put far more heart into his sermons. 
Dr. Kelynack can excel him in word pictures and 
fascinating imagery, whilst on a par with him in his 
resounding voice, and wonderful inflexions of it. But still, 
Dr. Dare (as he afterwards was called) was, for mastery of 
an audience by commanding eloquence, and impassioned 
powerful appeal, the prince of preachers that we have yet 
had in Victoria. "VVe do not think his mental grasp was 
wide or strong ; he dealt chiefly with commonplace truth 
and modes of presentation of it, yet as Lowell says of the 
poet Gray, that in his " Elegy," commonplace thoughts have 
been lighted up with genius, so ordinary, homely truths were 
made forcible by Mr. Dare, through the clothing of graceful 
expression, the charms of style, and the genial heartiness 
with which he could convey them to his hearers. He 
had rounded, well-balanced periods, figures of speech, illus- 
trative anecdotes, pertinent allusions to passing events and 
celebrities of the day ; but, although these are common arts 
of the rhetorician, yet he gave them with a swing, fire, and 
inspiration, all his own. We fear that young Victorians 
will know little about him, and that to after generations his 
may be but a shadow of memorial, as oratory is so fleeting, 
and he has left nothing in print worthy of him. A sermon 
on the " Trinity of Persons in the Godhead," pi'eached at 
the Round Lake Camp Meeting is in an American volume, 
and may be the exception to the general I'emark that 


nothing is extant in print equal to the orator's reputation. 
A few sermons and speeches are scattered in Connexional 
periodicals, but these will scarcely preserve his fame. The 
orator's speech, like the beauty's face, is a quick passport to 
favour ; but it is also short-lived, passing away after a 
brief day, living in memory of contemporaries only, lasting 
mostly for one generation, having no such abiding 
influence as the writer's page, or the poet's verse. The 
orator must get something worthy of himself in print, 
if he is to live in after times. If the burning thoughts be 
only put into spoken words, these fly away, and are lost to 
sight ; but if they be fixed in type, or circulate in the 
printed sheets, their currency will be to after generations. 
Dr. Dare was not only an eloquent man, but he was also a 
winner of souls. Many were the seals of his Ministry in 
all pai'ts of the land. 

Revivals are, in these later days, somewhat exceptional 
phenomena, or recur at irregular intervals ; but they were 
the normal state of things in the earliest age of the Christian 
Church. But the day will come when they shall be 
constant and continuous, as in the brightest days of Church 
history. Instead of exciting wonder that multitudes of 
people should be swayed by a mighty impetus and con- 
sentaneous movement to attend to their eternal interests, 
the wonder ought to be that they should so long and so 
often neglect them. When we consider the relations of 
sinful dying men to a broken law, with its terrible penalties, 
to the cross of Jesus, with its manifestations of Divine love, 
and to the judgment seat, with its awards lasting through 
eternity, it is a cause for astonishment that men sit still, 
are careless as to their present state and impending doom, 
and do not as Avith one consent, like the people of Nineveh 
at Jonah's mission, humble themselves, repent of sins, and 
turn unto God, for the averting of His deserved wrath, and 
the ensuring of their tranquillity. The transactions of 
Redeeming love, as culminating in the tragic scene on 
Calvary, opening the way to a pardoning God and a glorious 


heaven, have attractions which ought to win at once the 
heart and tlie man made acquainted with them and coming 
under their power. The cross of Jesus is the great 
magnet for immortal souls, and the health-giving medi- 
cine for sin-stricken men, and should draw them more 
readily than the magnet does the iron filings, and as 
steadily as the tides follow the influence of the sun and 
moon. Yet men, who pride themselves on their knowledge 
and philosophy, object to sudden and wholesale conversions. 
The metropolitan press sneered at them when occurring in 
those days. Philosophic banter tried to ridicule them out 
of existence. Weatherwise predictions of the press said 
that the falling barometer, and its telegrams from different 
points of the compass, portended that gravest mischiefs 
were coming on. The wish, possibly, was father to the 
thought. But the prophets of the press were again 
at fault. No such mischiefs ensued. Did the Revival 
movement stop on account of these jeers and prognostica- 
tions ^ It 'bated not one "jot of heart or hope," but "steered 
right onward." The barque of Methodism keeps on her 
voyage with prosperous gales. 

" For day and night 

Escort her o'er the deep, 
And round her solitary flight 

The stars their vigils keep. 

Above, beyond, are circling skies, 

And heaven around her pathway lies." 
This spiritual movement received a great accession of 
power through the labours of two remarkable men, each 
Avith his special gifts, and in his own methods of 
labour, under God's blessing, successful in turning many to 
righteousness. Mr. Matthew Burnett came to this colony 
in October or November, 1863. He began his woi-k here 
in the Brighton Circuit. He proclaimed his mission to be 
to the masses. .He sought, with the moral levers of 
personal sympathy and enthusiasm, the temperance reform, 
and the saving power of the Gospel, to reach the fallen, and 
uplift the degraded. He tried to bless especially the lower 


strata of society, and many converts were won from those 
classes. Some have fallen back through the power of 
ensnaring temptations and former habits; others remain 
as trophies of Di\-ine grace, and many -\vill be gems in the 
Redeemer's crown. His mission also took greatly with the 
poorer classes that were of respectable manner of life. A 
thin, spare man, of bilious temperament, yet of very 
hopeful spirit, he was unwearied in his efforts during a 
campaign to bring victory to the Lord's banners, and 
marshal numbers of recruits in tlie Lord's hosts. We 
cannot write in terms of unqualified praise of some of his 
methods of work. There were extravagancies in his per- 
sonal actions ; exaggerations, apparently unwitting, in his 
assertions and published statements of success ; a laudation 
and bespattering with praise of all and sundry, big 
men and little men, who helped him in his labour, that did 
not commend tliemselves to persons of more sober tlioughts 
and ways ; but despite these drawbacks, he was the agent 
of the reform of liundreds of drunkards, and the conver- 
sion of a number of degraded sinners ; and we, therefore, 
honour the man, and are glad for his mission. Brighton, 
Scarsdale, Clunes, Drysdale, Ballarat, and other Circuits 
were in quick succession the scenes of his unique labours ; 
and later on he was employed in tlie Metropolitan Circuits, 
as, indeed, in most in the land. Matthew Burnett was a 
welding of egotism and enthusiasm, employed as a 
Protestant devotee, and a self-constituted dervish in 
the cause of religion. He was a forerunner of the 
Salvation Army, and introduced some of their tactics and 
strategy : flaming placards, monster meetings, torchlight 
processions, sensational methods, stirring, noisy exercises, 
having often more of sound than of sense, more of shouting 
than of grace. However, lie indulged in no irreverent 
slang, but gave sound instruction, and now and again a 
powerful gospel sermon. These means together brought 
about like results with the Salvation Army, the bringing of 
all sorts of iish into the Gospel net. His movement was an 


•erratic, comet-like orbit in our planetary system, going in 
and out among the regular and steady courses pursued by 
Circuit Ministers, and after years of labour he passed to 
other colonies, and is still under the Southern sky. 

A man, still more marvellous in the power he wielded 
both over the educated and the illiterate masses, had pre- 
ceded Mr. Burnett in his arrival. The Rev. William 
Taylor landed in Melbourne on June 16th, 1863. He had 
been a street Preacher in Baltimore, San Francisco, and 
■other cities of America ; a pastor also of a Bethel Church in 
San Francisco. In connection with the Bethel was a 
Seaman's Home, which had been burned down in one of the 
numerous fires which had taken place in that city. The 
loss by fire had involved Mr. Taylor in heavy pecuniary 
liabilities, for which he had made himself responsible ; but 
as he had no means of his own, he bestirred himself to meet 
honestly the heavy sum owing by him. He wrote books in 
his peculiar vein and forcible style. They were readable, 
full of graphic incident, and of original or quaint views of 
men and things. By the sale of books, pushed by his 
personal influence, he made the efibrt to wipe off a debt of 
thousands of pounds, and succeeded. The 23,000 dollars 
were paid. He journeyed through the States of America, 
Great Britain, and Ireland, lecturing and preaching, with 
great success. He came to Victoria and began services 
which were marvellous in their results. His first Sun- 
day in Melbourne was spent in Wesley Church, and 
thereafter a series of revival meetings was held. Mr. 
Draper has left this record about them: — "On each evening 
during the week a large congregation attended, and many 
came forward in the prayer-meetings which wei'e held after 
preaching, requesting to be prayed for and taught to accept 
the Lord Jesus. Many found peace, and a deepening of 
the work of God was experienced in many of the Church 
members. On Sunday, June 28th, Mr. Taylor's labours 
were continued, and in the evening about forty-eight or fifty 
persons were in distress of soul, some fifteen of whom pro- 


fessed to find peace with God through faith in Christ. 
On Monday evening there were at least forty persons 
around the altar of prayer. Several most interesting cases 
of conversion occurred. On Tuesday evening the congrega- 
tion was still larger, and very many were in distress, some 
of whom obtained Divine consolation. 

So the record travels on with similar entries over the 
remaining days of the three weeks' services. 

Meetings followed at Geelong, Ballarat, etc., with like 
results ; and this earnest Minister went through the land 
like a flaming torch-bearer and herald of salvation. 

Mr. Taylor is tall, of dark complexion, of robust frame, 
possessed of a resounding voice, with the intonations which 
savour of America. In his preaching he deals out clear, 
pointed, heart-searching truths, in a plain, nervous, vigorous 
style. For clearness, force, and directness, few preachers 
surpass him. No one goes to sleep under his sermons ; 
attention is kept awake by clear statement in homely 
words, by abundant illustrations quaintly told, by narration 
of incidents mostly falling under his own observation, by 
what he calls 'surpi-ise power' — unexpected turns of thought 
or oddities of expression, or a sudden change from the 
secular to the sacred, from the serious to the odd and even 
ludicrous, from the laughable to the pathetic, or any s^vift, 
strong contrast that presents itself to him. He can reach 
the fountain of tears, or excite risible ideas and organs, and 
is rather partial to such practice. He is not as emotional 
as most English revivalists, but keeps himself and his 
movements well under control. A more reverential tone 
in prayer would have suited English ears better, and they 
could have dispensed with some of his familiarities in 
description. But he showed, by his shrewdness, tact, 
vigour, directness of aim, and his use of song, great aptitude 
for evangelistic work, and God wonderfully owned his 
labours in this land. He was received into the Ministry 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America in 1843 by 
the Baltimore Conference, and has spent years in the 


Eastern and Western States, in Great Britain and in 
Australia. After his visit here, this indefatigable Minister 
went through Southern Africa, from Cape Town to Natal, 
winning many trophies for Christ amongst the Kaffirs, as 
well as among the colonists. He has planted Missionary- 
Churches in various parts of India, in South Ainerica, (where 
Romanism so largely prevails) and has of late been con- 
stituted by the General Conference of the American Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, Bishop for the Continent of Africa. 
He is the grandest Itinerant that Methodism or the world 
has yet known. 

The Revival work proceeded in many places around 
Melbourne not visited by Mr. Taylor. Such was the spirit 
of religious enquiry and awakening that was abroad, that 
it made but little difterence who was the preacher that 
conducted the service. Almost every one was blessed in 
his ministry of the word, to the conversions of sinners, and 
saw immediate fruit of his labours. Prahran, Moorabbin, 
and Williamstown, were places that Mr. Taylor did not 
visit ; but there also extensive Revivals took place. In 
the latter town incidents occurred which illustrate the 
mental phenomena, the spiritual struggles, the petty per- 
secutions, the spiritual upraising and life which take place 
in a Revival. A boatman had been a drinker, and 
occasional gambler. A fortnight before the special services 
he began, under a deep conviction of personal sin, to seek 
to the mercy of the Lord. He was the lirst to come forward 
the place of prayer when the invitation was given one Monday 
night. On the following night he was made happy in the 
conscious favour and love of God. When asked to give 
testimony of God's work, he fell on his knees in the 
sight of all present, and thanked God for His pardon- 
ing mercy. His prayer at the time was remarkable for 
simplicity, fervour, and even fluency, considering that it 
was the tirst public prayer that he had made. He after- 
wards endured much petty persecution. A young clerk 
was converted. His business took him daily to Melbourne. 


In the railway carriage, a youth, urged on by older persons, 
struck him. The assailant was younger than himself, and 
the mean young men, who were urging on the offender, said 
to the clerk, as the blow was dealt without any provocation 
on his part, " You ought now to turn the other cheek." 
The young clerk felt, as he said, somewhat ashamed, whilst 
yet he contended with the feelings of indignation and 
resentment, but he was enabled to bear the provocation 
without returning it in the same coin. He had afterwards 
to bear some similar persecution, although less violent ; but 
his faith was made stronger in the Lord by patient endur- 
ance of these aggressions. Another bank clerk, a gentle- 
man in a responsible po.-^ition, was converted in a 
Sabbath school prayer meeting, and became earnest and 
zealous for God. He was of a warm temperament. A 
tradesman, converted at the same meeting, was of the 
opposite disposition : very impassive in his feelings, and 
somewhat inert in his mental action, so that some expected 
that it would be some time before he would be in downright 
anxiety for God's salvation, and that, when he found it, he 
would not be very joyous over it. But as the Minister was 
explaining the way of saving faith to the children of the 
Sabbath school, this man apprehended the relation of 
Christ as a Saviour to him, and believed to the saving 
of his soul. He said afterwards that his joy of that 
afternoon, he could not before have conceived it possible 
for a man to possess. 

The Minister had visited a lady of his congregation in 
the course of his pastoral duty. During prayer, a few 
children, playing outside of the house, were making a dis- 
turbing noise. After prayer she apologized, laying the 
blame upon her neighbour's children. A little time elapsed 
when she came to the Minister, and acknowledged how her 
conscience had troubled her that she had blamed the 
children of other people, when she believed some of her 
own were as noisy as her neighbours'. This showed the 
tenderness of the woman's conscience. Some would think 


SO conscientious and tender-hearted a lady had no need of any 
saving change, but when the Revival began, her conscience 
pricked her for other offences, both against God and man, 
and she was early bowed amongst the seekers of mercy, and 
enabled to rejoice in the Lord. Then her husband was 
stirred to enquire for this experience of salvation. As the 
lady knelt by her husband at the ' penitent form' she spon- 
taneously declared what God had done for her soul, and 
said she would not exchange the happiness of the past few 
days for a kingdom. She encouraged her husband to 
believe, and during the week he was also rejoicing in the 
possession of Divine love. The sister, and sister's husband 
were converts shortly afterwards. Captain H — , who had 
been of note on the goldlields, came to Church with a, 
revolver in his pocket, believing that some kind of magic 
or mesmerism had caused the people to be led like 
like a flock of sheep in seeking religion, and resolved, as he 
said, that no one should touch or molest him, except at his 
peril He went away unharmed and having hurt no one, 
although the Minister spoke to him directly and personally 
about his soul's welfai-e; and Mr. H — afterwards said : "The 
meeting was quiet, and the Minister very civil." One enquirer, 
a lady, was at a particular meeting in great distress of soul, 
weeping before the Lord. The meeting was prolonged later 
than usual, in the expectation that she would find the 
blessing sought. Just before 1 1 o'clock her prayers were 
heard, and she burst forth in a doxology of praise in which 
those around gladly joined. Her acquaintance had little 
idea that she could sing, but sweetness, strength, music, 
and heart were in her voice as she sang, " Praise God from 
whom all blessings flow, etc." When she got home, her 
husband was ready to complain, because of the late hour, 
but she said little in reply, beyond a brief explanation of 
the cause of her delay. He had attended one or two of 
the special services, and was a regular hearer on the 
Sabbath. His presence at any Revival meeting had 
been partly from curiosity, partly for amusement ; but now 


he came in a more serious frame of mind. He sought inter- 
views with the Pastor, and in a short time was travelling 
heart and hand with his wife in the way to heaven. 

Another wife brought her husband to the meetings. 
He had been a backslider, and in the whirl of those exciting 
business times, had gone grievously astray. But when 
this pious woman had brought him to the altar of 
prayer, she knelt by his side, and told the Lord about the 
wrievousness of his sins, and her own anxiety to save him 
from ruin, for she had come 16,000 miles for the express 
purpose of leading him (if possible) back to Christ. The 
husband had restored to him the joy of salvation. 
Some received the peace cf the Gospel at their work, 
some on journeying home from Church, one in a rail- 
way carriage, some in the quiet of their chamber, but a 
areat number at the meetings in the house of God. About 
sixty-five or seventy adults in that town then began a religious 
life, besides a great number of young people in the Sabbath 
school. Persons, formerly neglectors of worship, and grossly 
immoral, backsliders, those of moral lives, and of respectable 
standing in Society, were all sharing in one common joy of 
experimental godliness. We are not asserting that all kept 
on steadily in the way of the Lord. Alas ! some did not ; 
but numbers are to be found this day as Lay officials in 
different parts of the colonies, others are respected Church 
members, one. Rev. W. Burridge, has become an active, 
devoted, and very acceptable Minister of the Wesleyan 
Church. Some sailors were converted who went away in 
their vessels to other parts. The Bethel flag at that time 
was hoisted over the Wesleyan Church and attracted many 
seamen to the services. Captain Hedstrom, now harbour 
master at Levuka, Fiji, was then brought to a saving 
knowledge of Christ. At a later date, in 1864, a Swedish 
ship, commanded by Captain Swenson was in port. He 
was already a pious man, but the Second Mate, and some of 
the sailors were brought into the enjoyment of heartfelt 
religion whilst attending the Wesleyan service, and the 


Captain wrote afterwards to Mr. Blamires, acknowledging 
the good that had been done, that the work of conversion 
was going on amongst the seamen, and that the crew were 
often singing hymns of praise to Jesus, as they were crossing 
the Indian Ocean. The praises of Ged not only resounded 
over the ocean wave, but in many tabernacles of rejoicing 
on shore, for there was great joy in that town ; not only 
with the Pastor, his excellent wife, his fellow helpers, but 
amongst the children, also many of whom were converted to 
God. The shipmaster alluded to, sent the following letter 
to the Rev. Kerr Johnston, Seaman's Chaplain, at Sand- 
ridge : — " My crew was very much blessed during our stay 
in Hobson's Bay, particularly in the Wesleyan Chapel in 
Williamstown. But they have told me that they under- 
stood you best of all they heard in Australia, when you 
were talking to them in the cabin of the Cecilia, Oh ! 
it has been a pleasant voyage from Australia ! Sweet 
hymns have sounded over all the ship in the Indian Ocean, 
and fervent prayers have been sent up to our Heavenly 
Father by my dear Brethren among my crew. We are 
now loading rice for Europe, and I hope to see my dear 
wife and children next spring. May we all be united in 
Christ by faith, ready to enter the kingdom of glory, when 
our beloved Saviour comes or calls us to depart from this 
world. . . . Signed, Joseph Swenson, and dated from 
Indromago, Java, October 15th, 1864. (See Wesleyan 
Chronicle 1864, p. 208.) 

Similar accounts of Revival work and spiritual success 
in other Circuits could be multiplied. The sowing and 
reaping came together in many places ; but in others 
a longer time elapsed between the reaping and the planting 
God gave the increase. The offerings of praise, for his 
servants rejoice together, were a chorus taken up by many 
voices, an ode common to the whole Church. It is not 
asserted that all the blossom of these Revivals has been 
followed by ripe fruit in every instance where the bud 
and bloom seemed so promising, but a glorious harvest 


has been gathered. Do critics of the movement aver that 
some fell away, that some kept not their vows and pledges, 
that a low state of piety followed in others, that worldliness 
crept in to alloy the pure gold of religion, that some 
deteriorating elements came to mar the work 1 We admit 
that, in some degree, as, alas ! too true. But we ask, 
Does polished steel get no tarnish in a surrounding moist 
atmosphere 1 Does the stream get no earthy matters 
mixed with its volume from the adjacent banks of the river 
bed or tributary streams as it flows on farther from the 
fountain head toward the ocean 1 Yet we rejoice in tlie 
good quality of the steel, notwithstanding a little tarnish 
now and then. And the stream of water has many good 
qualities for refreshment of man, life of beast, and fertiliz- 
ing of the soil, notwithstanding it is not so pure as at the 
source or spring. So, despite some drawback, the 
glorious result, on the whole, has been an immense gaia 
in accessions to Messiah's kingdom, a steady advance- 
ment in the cause of Scriptural holiness, and a wider 
exemplification of practical piety. Methodism is wonder- 
fully the better for tliese revivals. They have raised mem- 
bers to a higher standard of piety, and led them to a life of 
greater usefulness. Mr. Elijah Stranger may be quoted as 
a sample of this. About this time he, with a number of 
others, entered into the experience of entire sanctification, 
and the influence he has exei'ted, for years past in his 
Society classes, numbering about 150 youths of both sexes, 
and in the Sabbath school at Brunswick-street, where, 
perhaps, spiritual results have been more ample than in any 
other school in this colony, has been of the most gratifying 
character. He stands out as a prince in our Israel, (despite 
the drawbacks of a little narrowness of view), for his 
ministry to the sick, his success amongst the young, his 
mission labours amongst the lower classes in CoUingwood, 
and the general fruitfulness of his devoted life. He gives 
his whole time as an unpaid agent to the cause of God in 
several departments of the work. In many circles his 


name is as ointment poured forth, and his record is on high, 
It has been affirmed that sixteen Ministers of the Gospel 
now in these colonies are fruits of Mr. Taylor's labours 
in his first visit. We are not able to state tliis positively, 
but we have understood that Messrs. D. O'Donnell, Thomas 
Adamson, B. Butchers, B.A., Moses Bullas, and others 
in the Wesleyan Ministry, date their conversion to 
Christ from his labour and that time. The Revival has 
had a blessed fruit in the younger generation of Wesleyan 
Ministers. Whilst other colonies have needed to send to the 
home country for a supply of young Ministers, Victorian 
Methodism has been able since that period to raise her own 
supply and furnish a few to other lands. She has many to 
guide the Churches of the sons whom she has brought forth 
These are for Ministerial effectiveness and varied gifts and 
earnest piety, comparable with any like number that 
Britain has sent to the Southern world. Of Victorian 
Ministers, now in the prime of their strength and days, 
men such as Messrs J. W. Tuckheld and Charles Lan- 
caster are eminent for their simple-hearted and devoted 
piety ; Thomas Adamson and Edmund S. Bickford for their 
energy and administrative ability ; AVilliam H. Fitchett 
and B. Butchers, for their keen weapons in polemic warfare; 
Richard Fitcher and Alexander R. Edgar, for their popular 
soul-saving preaching ; Messrs. T. Grove and David S. 
Lindsay as effective Superintendents, who have witnessed 
extensive P^evivals. Messrs. Burridge, Ingamells, Ingham, 
J. H. Tuckfield, Knee, Cowperthwaite, are energetic, 
acceptable labourers in the vineyard, who work well in their 
respective Circuits ; Messrs. A. Powell, J. P. M'Cann, E. 
C. De Garis, are younger men of popular talents as public 
speakers ; and a host of others, Samuel Adamson, Marsland, 
Saloway, Robin, James Lowe, David S. Lowe, etc., are 
doing good service in Colonial Methodism and find a glad 
acceptance amongst the people. The majority of these 
commenced their Christian career about the times we are 
now passing in review. Tasmania has also furnished able 


men in Messrs. E. W. Nye, R. Brown, J. J. Brown, R. 
Philp, S. T. Withington, now labouring in Victoria, and in 
the Rev. G. T. Heyward, who has retired from active 
service because of delicate health. 

The rapid strides of the "VVesleyan Church, owing 
largely to Revivals which occurred in almost every Circuit, 
also to the ordinary operations of the Church, are shown by 
the increase of membership in these years. For 1858, 
(reported at the Conference in January of the succeeding 
year), that yearly increase was 743; 1859, 765 ; 1860. 722 ; 
1861, 485; 1862, 100; 1863, 374; 1864, 1705. The mem- 
bership had more than doubled in those seven plenteous 
years, mounting upwards from 3194 to 8088. For these 
successes, the Church, by her pastors and people, raises her 
anthems of praise — 

" the goodness of God, employing a clod 

His tribute of glory to raise ! 
His standard to bear, and with triumph declare 

His unspeakable riches of grace. 

O the fathomless love, that has deigned to approve 

And prosper the work of our hands ! 
With our pastoral crook we went over the brook, 

And, behold, we are spread into bands. 

Who, we ask in amaze, hath begotten us these ? 

And inquire from what quarter they came, 
The full heart, it replies, they are born from the skies, 

And gives glory to God and the Lamb." 


MENTS, MEMORIALS (1863-85). 


The progress of the Church during these years of increase 
had led the Conference of 1863 to divide the One District 
of Victoria into Three, respectively entitled, "The Mel- 
bourne," " The Geelong and Ballarat," and the " Castle- 
maine and Sandhurst," Districts. The Districts were 
nearly equal in numerical strength, the first-named liaving 
1893, the second, 2394, and the third, 1718 members. 
Geographical reasons, the ready means of oversight, and 
the convenience of assembly without lengthened travel, 
which had required this convenient first partition, led sub- 
sequently to the Ovens and Murray District, and the 
Gippsland District being formed out of the Melbourne 
District, and to the excision of the Western from the 
Geelong and Ballarat District. Such are the divisions of 
the colony at the present, for the Methodist province, called 
the District, which is an aggregate of contiguous Circuits, 
having their representative annual meetings of Ministers and 
Circuit Stewards, which prepares business for Conference 
in the more minute examination of Ministerial character, the 
qualification, and studies of probationers, fitness of candi- 
dates for the Ministry, and review of the spiritual and 
financial state of the Church. Such meetings are also used, 
though rarely, for some purposes of discipline. 

The cause of Day and Sabbath School education had 
still engaged much of the attention and liberality of the 
Wesleyans. Their success was marked by the gratifying 
statements in the Registrar-Genei'al's report, 1861-2 : — " Of 
the three principal Protestant denominations, the Church of 
England, the Presbyterian, and the Wesleyan, the last- 
named was found to have the largest number of children 
at the schools, all possessing the rudiments of instruction ; 
inasmuch as 88 Wesleyan children in 100 could read and 


■write, against 82 Presbyterian children, and 77 children of 
members of the Church of England." The Denominational 
Board had not, however, encouraged, as it should, the 
active zeal of the Wesleyans'by proportionate grants, so 
that Wesley an efforts were somewhat crippled, and the 
Wesley ans hailed with joy the enactment of the Heales' 
Common Schools Act. This superseded the Denominational 
and National Boards, which had been competing, and 
merged them into one. This made more economical and 
uniform the system of public education. This Act was com- 
paratively silent upon religious instruction, but it was 
understood that it should be given, and so in practice the 
Act was administered by all concerned. But when after- 
wards an act was brought in by the Attorney-General, 
subsequently Judge Stephen, which changed the voluntary, 
paid, and religious system, into one, compulsory, secular, 
and free, we fear that the religious denominations were 
not suflficiently alive to the one pernicious quality of the 
Act amid its many good provisions for popular education. 
They protested against the ban put upon the Bible in the 
Statute Book, in reference to State schools, but saw that in 
administration the Act might be so interpreted and carried 
out, as to allow of religious instruction at some time, either 
in or out of school hours. But the Act has usually 
been administered to bar or impede religious instruction. 
But not always. Much has depended on the bias of 
the Minister of Education for the day; Mr. Stephen, Mr. 
Mackay, and Mr. Ramsay, have rendered themselves 
notorious for their opposition to any kind of religious know- 
ledge creeping m by any sanction of theirs, the latter 
Minister of Education being responsible for the excision of 
the name of Christ from the School books, and the small 
distinctive Christian teaching that had remained in them. 
Mr. Munro and Mr. Service have been more indulgent, and 
have permitted religious instruction by competent persons 
other than the teachers. The Wesleyans were somewhat 
deceived in hoping that the administration in respect to 


religious teaching would be as gracious as under the " Heales' 
Act," but they have never varied from the view that all 
sound education must have a religious basis. Hence their 
strong, tenacious, reiterated expression to the Legislature 
and to the public at large, that the present valuable Act 
needs immediate alteration in allowing or directing Bible 
instruction in School hours. Those who are deaf to the 
voice of the Churches now remember but little how much 
the cause of popular education, in cheap schools and by- 
cheap books, is the child of religious enterprise. Wesley 
moved in these matters long before any one else in England. 
Church action did the most to spread and popularize schools 
in this land when commercial men were busy in looking 
after gold and gain, and politicians had as much as they 
could do in settling party questions, and in allaying political 
ferment and strife. The choicest minds of our Church 
look with alarm upon the present exclusion of the Bible 
and Christian teaching from State schools, as pregnant with 
serious educational and moral evils to the whole people. 
The Wesleyans have done their best in the middle class 
schools established by them, Wesley College and the Metho- 
dist Ladies College to leaven the whole of education, and of 
the every day life of the young, with the religious spirit, 
principles, and training. They have, nevertheless, done 
this in a way as to offend no reasonable religious prejudice. 
In that way, as well as in the ordinary curriculum of 
secular studies, these Colleges have been a great success. 
The foundation stone of Wesley College was laid on Wed- 
nesday, January 4:th, 1865, by Governor Sir Charles Dazzling. 
The buildings are in the Italian style of architecture, and 
occupy the four sides of a quadrangle, the front being 
126 feet in extent, and the sides 150 feet in depth. 
The area of ground occupied for school premises, is eight 
acres, facing the St. Kilda road, and reaching back to 
Hoddle-sti-eet. The first outlay was £5700 for building 
alone, towards which the Government had granted ,£2700. 
More expenditure was made for furniture and school 


fittings, and other buildings were required. The furniture, 
etc., cost over £2000, of which £1000 was given by the 
munificence of Mr. Walter Powell, on condition of a similar 
sum being raised in the colony. £1500 was thus raised, 
and Mr. Powell's liberal sum was secured. The College 
was opened in Februaiy, 1866, and its success has been 
assured from the first, and has more than answered the 
sanguine expectation of its promoters. Some of the fore- 
most young men in professional and commercial life in this 
and adjacent colonies, have been educated there. Its 
honours gained at the University by the youths grounded 
in rudiments of learning, and in studies suitable to their 
age at the College, but afienvards passing through other 
courses of study at the University, have been equal to those 
of any similar institution. These successes have been 
owing largely to the several head masters. Dr. Corrigan, 
Professors Irving and Andrew, and the present accom- 
plished Head Master, Mr. Way. But Rev. Dr. Waugh's 
name is most identified with the prosperity of Wesley 
College, as he was its first President, and continued to 
retain that position for eighteen years. His judicious 
management, and blended firmness and considerateness in 
treatment of the youths, have served largely to place 
Wesley College in the high position in public esteem which 
it holds. The domestic department could not have been 
presided over by a more judicious, winsome, and kindly 
lady than Mrs. Waugh. Dr. Waugh has rendered more 
important services to the youth of Victorian Methodism 
than any other Minister that could be named. The 
Students, who have in our Provisional Theological Insti- 
tution been prepared for the Wesleyan Ministry, have 
for years been under his care, and testify to the efficiency 
of the intellectual drill, and soundness of theological know- 
ledge which they obtained from their President. Dr. 
Waugh has been a firm defender of our doctrine and polity 
on the platform and in the press, a faithful servant of the 
Church during his long career, and now in retirement he 


has the ■well-earned esteem and reverential attachment of 
all who know him. His grey head is a crown of honour. 
His upright, stalwart frame is indicative of the unflinching 
fidelity of the man. His energy is abating, but his graces 
are ripening in the decline of life. A crown of glory from 
the Master's hands awaits him in the better world. 

Another eminent Minister, who has been prominently 
before our readers, enchains attention now by the tragic 
character of his death, through the foundering of the 
s.s. London. Mr. Draper had fallen out of the Circuit 
ranks in 1865, and took a well-earned holiday in a visit to 
the home country. His brethren of the Clergy and Laity 
had bidden him farewell on his departure in a series of 
brotherly meetings, with gifts and prayers, expecting his 
return after the expiration of his trip to Europe. But it 
was not so to be. In the \dolent storm which overtook the 
ill-fated ship in the Bay of Biscay, he and others were 
engulfed beneath the wave. But the circumstances of his 
death and the nobly heroic part which Mrs. Draper and he 
played in the solemn position in which they were placed, 
have awakened the wondering admiration and praise of the 
civilized world. In that terrible conflict Avith the hoi-rors 
of death, he was calm, self-possessed, and eager to proclaim 
the Gospel of a present salvation through Christ to the poor 
creatures around him. By the many memorial services held 
in the fatherland and in the colonies, the Christian world 
showed the esteem in which he was held. The Wesleyans 
have perpetuated his memory by a tablet in Wesley Church, 
a scholarship at "Wesley College, and by a memorial volume 
which was issued by the Revs. J. C. Symons and Joseph 
Dare, D.D. It has also been kept green in the memory of 
Cornshmen by a Life Boat named after him, which is 
stationed at Penzance, and has already been useful in the 
rescue of many persons from a Avatery grave. 

Another memorial of Mr. Draper is in a volume written 
by the Rev. John C. Symons, whose literary industry has 
been considerable. His has been the most active pen 


amongst us. Besides contributions to the serial press, he 
has issued controversial pamphlets, which are good for their 
able reasoning and logical force. One other pen may be 
mentioned beside his as a prolific one. It is that of the 
Rev. W. H. Fitchett, B. A. He has, from his entrance to the 
Wesleyan Ministry, wielded an able pen in the cause of 
truth and religion. It is keen and caustic in satire, 
vigorous and epigrammatic in argument, racy and graphic 
in description, at times poetic and imaginative in its treat- 
ment of nature's grandeur or beauty, and in all respects 
well-fitted by its taking style to enchain a reader's attention 
and interest. For its verve, point, incisiveness, it is a style 
like to that of good French writers, and for its masculine 
force and simple, but expressive, diction, it could vie with 
some of the best Anglo-Saxon authors. He is, as a prose 
writer, one of the foremost in Australian literature. Pity 
that so much of his strength and ability has been expended 
in ephemeral articles of the daily or weekly press, and that 
he has furnished nothing worthy of himself in a permanent 
form ! Mr. Fitchett, as a Circuit Preacher and Adminis- 
trator has been most loyal to Methodist doctrine and polity, 
and has reined in a mind, which, by reason of its imaginative 
scope and power, might be supposed to have great tendency to 
fancies and vagaries, new speculations, and experiments, by 
an exemplary fidelity to Wesleyan principles. His mind, 
whilst carrying strong sail, has good ballast, and we can 
wish him a prosperous voyage. His chivalrous enthusiasm 
and energy, that will not always take the counsel of more 
cautious minds, has done excellent service to the cause of 
education in the establishment of the Methodist Ladies' 
College at Hawthorn. He has been very sanguine about it 
from the start, and the first-class character of its training, 
and its increasing numbers and favour with the public are 
a grand certificate to the soundness of his views, and to the 
energy of his character and habits. No institution in this 
Southern world is more prosperous. 'Tis in its early youth, 
having only commenced in April, 1882; yet it gives promise 


of great usefulness, and of permanent success. Long 
life to it. 

A name worthy of mention in connection with Metho- 
dist literature is that of the Rev. Benjamin Field, a 
Minister from the ranks of the British Conference, who 
came to reside in this colony for the benefit of his health. 
He was for a short season, the editor of the Wesleyan 
Chronicle, and has given to Methodism a most valuable 
contribution to its literature, his " Handbook of Wesleyan 
Theology." It is the best vade mecuin that we know 
of, for young Local Preachers, Candidates, Students, and 
Ministers. Mr. Field was of a sweet spirit, very devout, 
an able preacher, with a rich unction attending his Ministry. 
His comparatively early death was greatly mourned by 
the Methodist community. 

The Wesleyan Sunday School Union was inaugurated 
by a pubHc meeting held in Hotham, on August 18th, 1873, 
and since that date has done good work in stimulating 
Bible studies amongst the young, and is gradually raising 
the standard of excellence in our Sabbath schools. The 
cessation of State aid to the Churches tried rather severely 
the financial resources of small and poor Circuits ; some for 
a few years were greatly embarrassed, but a Circuit Relief 
Fund was formed which bore them through their difiiculties 
to a more prosperous state, and on to better times. When 
State aid was abolished, the Wesleyan Home Mission was 
formed, mainly by the proposals of the Rev. John Watsford, 
and its management was entrusted to his care. In the 
older and wealthier Circuits his enthusiastic advocacy raised 
large sums of money, and in the newly-settled districts 
he travelled extensively, at great personal inconvenience 
and fatigue, with means of locomotion and accommodation 
very varied, but pioneering the Methodist cause, installing 
Methodist agents, encouraging local men and local efibrts, 
and exercising a powerful Ministry, which has been singu- 
larly successful in the salvation of souls. The Northern 
Areas owe more in their religious provisions to good Father 


"Watsford than to any one besides. His labours and over- 
sight, followed up by the devotion of young Ministers, Home 
Mission Agents, zealous Class Leaders, Local Preachers, 
School Workers, have made the Wesleyan Methodist the 
leading Church in those parts, and most influential in 
activity and numbers. Under his leadership Methodism 
has gone up and possessed most part of that fertile land. 
To God be all the praise ! 

Mr. Watsford is a strong man in physical energy, in 
intellectual force, and in religious and revival enthusiasm. 
Having depressing moods at times, constitutionally alter- 
nating between the sanguine and the melancholic, yet with 
a sound heart, a well modulated voice, capable of sonorous 
or of pathetic tones, with a physique and features that 
proclaim him every inch a man, he is an indefatigable 
worker, in labours more abundant, and in zeal, if not 
beyond measure, beyond most. He was the chief in- 
strument of a remarkable visitation of grace and power 
at Surrey Hills, Sydney. At a memorable service which he 
conducted on November 14th, 1858, the sermon was with 
great power, hundreds remained to the after-prayer meeting, 
and it is computed that upwards of a hundred mourners 
were crying for mercy, and forty professed to receive 
assurance of pardon and peace that night. So in the 
Circuits in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, 
where he has been stationed, and in the places in the 
colonies and in England where he has preached, similar 
seals of a heaven-commissioned Ministry have been given, 
and hundreds from these lands converted through his instru- 
mentality will meet him in heaven. He is a true son of 
Wesley ; a Revivalist of the school of Bramwell, Smith, 
and John Hunt ; a grand Missionary, for the early part of 
his Ministry was spent as a coadjutor of Hunt in Fiji ; an 
ardent lover of every good cause, for he is warmly fervent 
and enthusiastically devoted in every movement that he 
favours or takes up ; and is a Methodist Apostle and Bishop, 
if^anyone be worthy of the position and name. He has 


the small spice of human infirmity to flavour his truly 
Christian worth, that he is not as tolerant as could be 
wished, of the opinions of other people who cannot see 
through his'glasses, yet is he catholic-spirited, tender-hearted, 
charitable. He has been President of the Australian Con- 
ference ; was elected^first President of the General Conference 
of Australasian Methodism; and was the chief Represetative 
of this part of the world at the (Ecumenical Council of 
Methodism held in London. Two of his sons are Wesleyan 
Ministers, like-minded with him, and are treading in their 
father's footsteps, and one devoted daughter, Mrs. Danks, 
is the wife of a Pioneer Missionary in New Britain. The 
name of Watsford is graven deeply on the Home and 
Foreign work of Christian enterprise in connection with 
Wesleyan Methodism in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Exigencies of space deprive us of the pleasure of com- 
menting worthily, however briefly, upon the devoted labours 
of Ministers who have appeared in later years upon the 
scene of Victorian Methodism, such as W. A Quick, John 
Cope, Spencer Williams, Robert C. Flockart, Henry Bath, 
who have been Presidents of Conference ; Samuel Ironside, 
Nathaniel Bennett, William Brown, Alfred Rigg, Thomas 
Angwin, Jesse Carey, Richard Osborne Cook, Joseph White, 
who have been Superintendents of Circuits, and whose praise 
is in all the Churches; and upon junior Ministers that are 
worthy to stand side by side with their fathers in the 
Ministry, and to whom is committed the trust of perpetuating 
Methodism, and, under God, making it a greater power in the 
land ; also Laymen who have rendered good service since the 
time of the first gold discovei'ies :^Messrs. W. Nettleship, 
John Danks, Callaghan, E. John, J. Wilton, T. Vasey, 
Leonard Robinson and others. We leave to those who 
become the future histoi'ians of the Church, the work to fill 
up where we have been lacking, in placing portraits in the 
historic gallery, and in sketching the later years of religious 
life in the first half-century of Victorian Methodism. 




The Melbourne Circuit for a time embraced the whole 
•colony, and such remote places as Portland and Port Fairy 
figured on the Circuit plan. At length these dim and 
distant extremities were cast offj'^and the Methodism of 
Melbourne was built up by the development of nearer 
interests, outlying positions which first received, and then 
radiated light and blessing to regions beyond, for most of 
them have since become Circuits and centres themselves. 
It is our purpose to trace the rise and course of what may 
be called Suburban METiiODibM. The first in chronological 
order is — 

WiLLiAMSTOWN — at that time the Port of Melbourne. 
The Rev. J. Orton calls it the Gravesend of the colony. It 
was more like a kind of Ap2)ii Forum, where those arriving 
or embarking at " The Settlement," as the district was first 
called, encountered each other. To be named after King 
William the Fourth indicates its antiquity, according to 
Colonial standards, for when it was first founded our Queen 
was then some steps from the throne. In 1838, Mr. Charles 
Stone, then an ardent and enterprising youth, arrived from 
Hobart Town, bringing " letters of commendation," and a 
sort of general commission from the Rev. J. Orton. 
It was proposed at first that he should join the Bun- 
tingdale Mission* but he at last settled as schoolmaster 
at Williamstown, occupying a lean-to room attached to 
the School building, in which Divine service was held, 
and he was, for a time, almost perpetual incuinbent of 
the little cause. A Bethel flag waved over the spot, the 
liturgy of the Church of England was used, and doctors 
and captains of vessels were often found in the congregation. 
Mr. Stone describes the anxiety with which that rare event, 
the visit of a preacher from Melbourne was anticipated. 

* Note.— See the story of this Mission in twelve papers in the 
Methodist Spectator; August 7th to December 31st, 1S85. 


The roughness of the way and the difficulty and delay of 
the Spottiswoode's Ferry, made the visit very uncertain, 
and after watching and waiting at a little look-out window, 
until the time was past, Mr. Stone had too often to supply 
the place. He was soon after married to Miss Hurlstone, 
and a Methodist home was established. Tliis was one of 
the first marriages perfc'^f med in the colony ; the Rev. Mr. 
Grylls was the celebrant, there being no Wesleyan Minister. 
In 1840, the preaching was held in the open-air. At the 
first Quarterly Meeting held in Melbourne, on Jannary 28th, 
1841, Williamstown is mentioned as greatly needing a new 
Chapel; and a Committee was appointed to secure one. 
The Rev. Mr. Orton and Mr. Witton visited the place 
together, and were grieved at the gross Sabbath-breaking 
and forgetfulness of God which they witnessed. In October 
1841, the new Church was opened. The Rev. J. G. Millard 
then visiting Melbourne from Sydney in the steamer Sea 
Horse (Captain Ewing), heard the Rev. J. Orton at the 
opening service, and says that " a small steamer, the 
Governor Arthur, was chartered to convey the Melbourne 
friends to and from Williamstown, to participate in the 
inaugural services, and a good many availed themselves 
of the opportunity." In 1842 the name appears on the 
Melbourne plan with three services attached to it, viz : — 
11, 2.30, and 6.30. In 1845 Mr. Stone removed to 
Bric^hton, and Mr. Witton to the Western District, and the 
Church was closed for some time. At length, Mrs. Captain 
Sutton, now Mrs. ISIason, settled there and opened forth- 
with her house as the preacher's home. The Revs. Messrs. 
Sweetman, Lowe, Harcourt and various local brethren, 
after walking from Melbourne, to minister to " the little 
flock," often found rest and comfort there. Mrs. Sutton 
took a hearty and generous interest in maintaining Metho- 
dism in the place, and was for some years its main- 
stay and "nursing mother." In 1851, Williamstown 
disappeared from the Melbourne plan and became a 
separate Circuit. In 1854 the Rev. W. C. Currey was 


appointed to the Circuit by the General Superintendent, 
and a stone Church built. The writer was first welcomed 
by this Minister on his arrival from England in February, 
1856, in the contingent then known as the " Nimi'od 
men." He preached in the new Church, and found 
the old Church in the form of an attached skillion, con- 
stituting the Bachelor's quarters ^2 the resident Minister. 
The next Ministers were the Revs. Messrs. Albiston, 
Dubourg, S. Knight, E. I. Watkin, and the President for 
the Jubilee year was its first married Minister ; while the 
arrival of valued brethren as Messrs. Rupert Smith, 
M'Callum, Bunting, Burridge, Courtis, Murrell, etc., gave 
strength and weight to our Church. The present spacious 
Church and parsonage testify to the enterprising energy of 
the Rev. J. Harcourt, during whose superintendency they 
were erected. Those ancient and primitive places Albion 
and Maidstone, between Williamstown and Melbourne, 
were supplied by local preachers from town ; but they 
are now comprised within the bounds of the new and 
promising Circuit of Footscray and Yarraville. 

Brighton comes next. It was then a scattered hamlet 
on the opposite side of the Bay, and communication between 
it and Williamstown was for awhile efiected by a whale- 
boat, which set out in answer to a signal smoke raised on 
the shore ; or else by trudging round on foot and crossing 
the Saltwater and Yarra in punts. Mr Charles Stone, 
then in his youthful pi'ime, tells how, with his coat on his 
arm, and subdued with the sun's fervent heat, he has had 
to pick his way through the bush, which lay between the 
Yarra and Brighton. There was only one Circuit horse for 
the colony, and many competitors for that, Mr. Witton's 
celebrated "pony" being i-eserved for a few personal friends. 
In 1843 Messrs. Pemberton and Orr, members of the 
Melbourne Society, were wont to walk to Little Brighton to 
distribute tracts, and this opened the way for preaching and 
prayer-meetings. These were first held at the early home of 
the late Mr. G. Thomas, in a little slab hut, covered with 


thatch. A second service was held in the morning in the home 
of the late Mr. Thomas "Walton, of Great Brighton, or Dendy's 
Survey, as it was then called. Mr. Walton was one of the 
members of the first class-meeting held in Melbourne, and 
his homely cottage at Brighton was dedicated to the worship 
of God by many a hearty prayer and faithful sermon from 
local brethren who "missi'^'iied" the place. The little room was 
often crowded, and the congregation sometimes diverted by 
sundry cooking and domestic operations which were carried 
on behind the preacher's back. In after years Mr. Walton 
was a familiar figure at all our ser\ices, and is remembered 
still as a sort of curiosity famous for the peculiar style of 
his public prayers, and otlier eccentric habits. He died 
about thirteen years since, leaving his cottage and allotment 
of land to the Wesleyan Church. The land on wliich the 
present Church and Parsonage stand, was also secured by 
Mr. Walton from the late Mr. Were, the agent for Mr. 
Dendy. The Home Government permitted at that time 
special surveys 4x2 miles in extent, and within six miles 
of the city. Mr. Dendy selected what has since proved the 
magnificent area on which Brighton stands, although he 
himself died not long since in comparative poverty. A 
small brick Church first marked this site, and afterwards 
became the Minister's study, the basis and beginning of 
various extensions which followed and constituted the old 
Parsonage. A strip of the reserve was also fenced 
ofi" as a cemetery, and there some of " the rude forefathers 
of the hamlet sleep." Messrs. James Webb, Gifibrd, 
Baker, and others settled at Brighton, and in 18.52 the 
Rev. William Byrnes was appointed to the Circuit, to be 
followed by the Revs. Messrs. Sweetman and Bickford. 
Little Brighton also profited by the arrival of Messrs. 
Hurlstone, Stone, J. Webb, Abbey, Head, Thomas, etc., 
who soon gave strength and shape to the infant cause. 
Classes were commenced, both at Little Brighton and East 
Brighton, under the care of Mr. Stone, whose fruit abides 
to the present day, and under the visits of such men as 


Messrs. Marsden, Gallagher, and Hewitt, the word of the 
Lord grew and multiplied. Mr. Head soon removed to 
Gardiner's Creek (now the picturesque and prosperous town- 
ship of Oakleigh) and opened his house for preaching. 
He was for a time the veritable " head" of the Church and 
sole representative of Methodism in that part, until joined 
by Messrs. Evans, and Beacom, *;tc. From these points 
the Woi'd of the Lord " sowaded out " to Moorabbin, Mul- 
grave, Kingston, Lightwood, and regions beyond, and good 
earnest work was done in these places at that time by 
Messrs. H. Baker, Lewis, Biencowe, Preston, Sykes, 
Cameron, and others, most of whom have fallen sisleep. 
Our Church at Moorabbin is a fruitful vine, and has had 
a precious history. More than thirty years ago a few pray- 
ing souls were wont to meet in the cottage, or in the bush, 
or at the stump of a tree, to greet each other in the Lord, 
exhort one another, and pray one for another. First a class 
meeting was started, tlien a Sunday school, next a small 
tenement was used for service, until the present holy and 
beautiful house of pi*ayer arose, the joy of many hearts, and 
the scene of many blessings. True to the tradition of our 
fathers, and driven by the impulse which embodies itself in 
the ceaseless question: "What more can be done to promote 
the work of God V we tind an early minute in the Brighton 
Circuit book to the effect that a movement be made "to visit 
the outlying villages of Prahran and St. Kilda, and supply 
them with the ordinances of religion." Brighton was, for 
some years, a contingent of Melbourne, and governed by 
the Quarterly Meetings held in old CoUins-street Church. 
The late Mr. Duffy, for some years sexton of that Church, 
was wont to recite some sharp passages-at-arms which took 
place at the Quarterly dinner on the temperance question, 
then just beginning to stir the conscience of the Church, 
and such instances of godly discipline and simplicity, as 
the following prevailed in those early days : — A Mr. W — , 
one of the earliest members of Society expelled for marrying 
a worldly and unconverted woman. A Local Preacher 


was "overtaken in a fault," and such was the zeal to purge 
this scandal, and "put away that wicked person," that the 
Circuit plan which had just been issued, was called in that 
his name might be struck off the same. Another brother 
was suspended for going to the New South Wales' goldtields, 
without having made proper provision for the support of 
his wife and family. " And I don't think," observes the 
narrator, " that he applied for conipensation when restored." 
The present comfortable position of the Circuit in financial 
respects is largely due to the generous bequest of the l^te 
Mr. Carey, of about £2000, which has helped to discharge 
most of the trust debts and to sustain three Ministers on 
the ground. A contrast this to the panic and impoverish- 
ment entailed by the first rush to the diggings, when the 
senior Circuit Steward, in his dismay, proposed to repudiate 
the appointment of a Minister to the Circuit. For some 
years Brighton was the only Circuit South of Melbourne, 
and comprised, as a poetical brother used to phrase it, " the 
region from the Australian Alps to the South pole, and 
from the eastern main to the setting sun." Gippsland was 
then a terra incognita, although in 1847, according to the 
Gleaner, the Rev. F. Tuckfield was about to visit it with a 
view to establish religious ordinances. Meanwhile at Keys- 
borough, near Dandenong, a staunch and worthy Irish 
Methodist, " Father Keys," as he was long and fondly 
called, had settled, and for many years the old root, and 
now the branches to the third and fourth generation flourish 
large and fair, the strength and stay of our cause in that 
part. The hospitality and true Irish welcome of the dear 
old couple, the first of that name, is still lo%-ingly remem- 
bered. One Minister tells how the hostess used to ply him 
with good tilings, until he was fairly beaten, and in no 
mood for afternoon preaching, and the writer recalls the 
memory of those grand Circuit luncheons, a combination of 
Lovefeast and Quarterly Meeting, — genuine feasts of taber- 
nacles, held in booths of bowery bushes, — and how the com- 
pany beamed, and the tables teemed, and the knives and 


forks worked their way ! But better than these things were 
the scenes of revival and " times of refreshing" with which 
this part was blessed under the labours of Mr. M. Burnett 
and others. The work at Berwick, Hastings, The Clyde, 
etc., was opened up in due course, Messrs. Ritchie, 
Searle, Patterson, etc., being the prominent agents in the 
same. Mr. Sykes, senior, one of the earliest East Brighton 
converts, became an eariijest Local Preacher, and did good 
pioneei' work around Dandenong and in parts of Gippsland, 
and so the old mother Circuit is now " spread into bands." 
Brunswick, Coburg, and Places to the North of 
Melbourne. — Before the year 1841, occasional preaching 
had been held in this part in the houses of Captain Buck 
(Captain of the first "John Wesley"), and Mr. Thos. 
Jennings (late undertaker, of Queen-street, Melbourne). 
Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds are found on the first MS. 
Circuit plan. The latter place was soon dropped owing, as 
Mr. Stone informs us, to the neglect of the place by the 
Preacher appointed, and has only in the last year or two 
recovered from the "heavy blow and great discouragement" 
it received thirty years before. Mr. Stone remembers 
preaching there in those days in the men's hut of a 
Mr. M'Crae, a squatter, the men were very rude and 
restless, and the Preacher felt at the time, " I have 
laboured in vain and spent my strength for nought," but 
sixteen years after he was accosted by a man in Collins- 
street who recognised him with gladness and gratitude 
as the Preacher who had told him in the woolshed the 
way of life. Merri Creek — this was the vague designation 
of a district now more definitely known as Brunswick, and 
that name first appears on the Melbourne Circuit plan, 
November, 1841. Pentridge followed in August, 1842, with 
an afternoon service, held in the houses of Messrs. Sidebottom 
Harding, Kendall, etc. In March, 1850, after the name 
Pentridge, is added " Jefiery's Farm," and on the next plan, 
" Jeffery's" eleven o'clock, and "Christie's" three o'clock, 
appear as separate appointments taken by the same Preacher. 


"Jeffery's Barn," at Irishtown, now Preston, and "Christie's 
Farm," on the Darebin Creek, near Janefield, are still fondly 
remembered by some surviving Preachers of that day, as 
the farthest outposts in that direction. The Revs. J. 
Harcourt and S. Waterhouse often visited these suburbs. 
There was also preaching at " Meagher's Barn," Greens- 
borough, and at Mr. Fletcher's, at the lower Darebin Creek, 
now known as the district of Alphington. In 1855, Pent- 
BIDGE was separated from Melbourne West, and Brunswick 
with a good brick Chapel, Schoolroom, and Schoolmaster's 
iron house, reverted to Melbourne East. The Rev. Barnabas 
Walker was the first Minister appointed to Pentridge, and 
this was his first Circuit. He had a good deal of ardour 
and enterprise, and sought to prospect and possess the land 
for Christ. To this end he undertook long journeys, and 
followed the people that were scattered abroad. In one 
direction he went as far as the old Caledonian diggings, 
near Queenstown, and traversed the region occupied now by 
the villages and townships of Eltham, Research, Kangaroo 
Ground, Queenstown, Kingstown, Christmas Hill, Panton's 
Hill, Yarra Flats, Healesville, Marysville, Lilydale, etc. 
There were no made roads in those days, the bush was very 
thick, and Mr. Walker often lost his way. Mr. Rodda, 
senior, returning from the Caledonian diggings settled down 
at Research, between Eltham and Kangaroo Ground. 
Preaching was commenced at Little Eltham, and held for 
some months in the slab hut of Mr. Honeyball, late Post- 
master, then a site of land was secured and a small brick 
Church built, since sold to the Rechabites, to be followed 
by the present handsome structure. Mr. Rodda, senior, a 
grand-nephew of one of John Wesley's own Preachers, was 
the father of our Church at Eltham, and Messrs. Rosier, 
Harding, Ford, Foley, and Harmer, etc., were among its 
earliest friends. Mr. Rodda still survives, a saintly and 
venerable man waiting for his change. He leads a peaceful 
and sequestered life in a home hallowed by meditation and 
prayer. Though unable for some years to leave his own 


gi'ouiid, yet he is a most interesting and instructive char- 
acter, whom it is a privilege to know. Well read in 
Methodist lore, he will recite its stirring facts and incidents 
to you whilst his grand old progenitor, " Mr. Richard Rodda, 
^tatis, 74 " (an enlarged photo., taken from the old 
Methodist Magazine, in ample and graceful wig, like to 
that which John Wesley wears in our old Hymn-books), 
looks down upon us from two or three points, as though to 
confirm it all. Listening to him the sun dial of one's life has 
seemed reversed for the space of two or three generations, 
while the simple, tender, and lofty piety which fed and feasted 
daily on the Word of God and Wesley's Hymns has made 
our sojourn with him like a bit of the intermediate state, 
"quite on the verge of heaven." Mr. Rodda's daughter 
was the wife of the Rev. B. S. Walker, late Anglican 
Minister, and he has three sons Ministers of that Com- 
munion. Eltham is the farthest Methodist outpost in this 
direction, while the region beyond, although prospected 
thirty years ago by this pioneer brother, is to this day a 
Methodist wilderness. Warrandyte (Anderson's Creek) 
had also occasional services and two Local Preachers resided 
there, but it also is now derelict so far as Methodist service 
is concerned. On one of these occasions the Rev. B. S. 
Walker stopped at the house of Mr. Robert King, 
Yan Yean. He held service there that night but was at a 
loss for a precentor, when one offered to wliistle the tune, 
saying he could sing songs but not hymns. The service, 
however, was not in vain, for Mr. King offered forthwith a 
site of land for a Wesleyan Church. The present Wesleyan 
Church at Yan Yean was soon opened for Divine worship, 
and Mr. King's house became a warm and welcome 
preacher's home. The first Local Preacher's Meeting was 
held at Pentridge on April 3rd, 1855, Rev. B. S. Walker 
in the chair, and Messrs. F. Thomas, Cooper, D. Brown, 
Lucas, and Dredge were present. These are all now passed 
away. The Circuit then comprised Pentridge, Thomas- 
town, Irishtown, Mickleham, Phillipstown, Rocky Water- 


holes, Back Ci^eek, Tullamarine, Plenty, Doutta Galla, Box 
Porest, Greensborough, etc., and they were even then 
reaching out from time to time to such places as Epping, 
Campbellfield, Kilmore, Keelbundoora, Upper Plenty, Mer- 
riang, and other sundry farms and stations. The Ministers 
who succeeded the Rev. B. S. Walker were the Revs. W. C. 
Currey, H. Waddington, W. G. R. Stephinson, R. Hart, and 
J. Pemell. None of these are in the active work in this 
colony. The ranks of the Local Preachers were increased by 
the addition of the names of B. and S. Johnson, Kendall, 
Hall, Thompson, Standing, M'Clure, Fletcher, Kyle, Grim- 
shaw, R. Sidebottom, Wilson, Abbey, Bull, etc. The Quar- 
terly and Local Preachers' Meetings were held in turn at 
Pentridge, Irishtown, and Thomastown. Long ivalks, often 
eight to ten miles, from such distances as Greensborough, 
Yan Yean, Thomastown, etc., were taken by the brethren, 
in order to reach the Quarterly Meeting. Mr. Kendall 
is to be remembered, among other services rendered to our 
Church, for the way in which he secured the site of land at 
Coburg, on which our present valuable Church premises 
stand. Pentridge struggled on for awhile as a separate 
Circuit, until it was re-absorbed in the Brunswick-street 
Circuit, and at length under the name of Coburg, attached to 
the present Brunswick Circuit. On March 30th, 1858, it was 
resolved "that Merriang, Mickleham, and Rocky Water- 
holes be dropt in favour of Mr. Mewton." The Rev. J. 
Mewton had just been appointed with a colleague to Kilmore, 
which was then made a Circuit town. It was a somewhat 
bold start — two men on untried ground, a population some- 
what alien to Methodist influence (for the late Sir John 
O'Shanassy was then kingof Kilmore) — and no Home Mission 
Fund beliind them ! But Mr. Mewton was equal to 
the occasion, with the lavish energy which characterized 
him, he cut out a large programme of work, and, to use a 
racing term, "made the running" for those that followed. 
The writer, who succeeded him, well remembers the change 
from the halcyon content and bliss of a Circuit in Tas- 


mania to this debt-distracted snene, how, on his arrival, he 
had to face at the local bank, bills for £40, .£50, and £90, 
being sums required to start and develop the Circuit, and 
how, frantic with this terror, he raced hither and thither, 
wherever he could get on the track of a pound note, 
haunted by imaginary goblins, worse than those which 
followed Tam O'Shanter's mare. The Circuit too was one 
of magnificent outlines and distances, being some eighty 
miles long, and comprising what is now four Circuits ; and 
there were other peculiar trials and discomforts, but they 
need not be named among " brethren of the common lot." 
KJhnore (which in those days was a stage after Jvilmajii/) 
is now reduced and feeble, but whether those former days 
were better than these, who shall say 1 Few Circuits have 
seen more vicissitudes. M erri axg, once the very eye of 
the Circuit, is gone, Mickleham is shut up. Rocky 
Water-holes — described as the busy thriving township of 
DoNNYBROOK, with Its large through-traffic to the diggings, 
its two rival hostelries, " The Happy Home," and the " Real 
Happy Home," — is now a desolation ; while our stone 
Church, after being turned into a potato store, is now a 
heap of ruins, the withering breath of time and change has 
swept over it, or we might ratlier say, the railway train 
has swept past it, " and it is gone, and the place thereof 
shall know it no more." The very site, we ai'e told, if not 
the habitation of owls and dragons, is as undistinguishable 
as that of Tyre itself. But there were brave and good men 
connected with the Circuit, whose names deserve to be 
enshrined and preserved in loving remembrance, to wit 
Messrs. M. Thompson, Waite, Hawke, Foster, Wright (still 
surviving), Adams, T. B. Young, Lobb, Kyle, and others. 
Coming back to the places which skirt the Plenty-road, we 
find what is now the 

Preston and Heidelberg Circuit. — Father Jeffery, 
the oldest inhabitant of Preston, remembers when no house 
existed on that side of Melbourne, but all tliat one sees 
from the top of Rucker's Hill, was a virgin wilderness. ]Mr. 


Jeifery came in 1840, and was soon followed by Messrs. 
R. King, Woods, and other pilgrim fathers. With a true 
Irish welcome he opened his house for preaching. " Jeffery's 
Farm" figures on the earliest Melbourne plans, and was a 
favourite appointment with the preachers of those days, as 
we have heard Father Hewitt and others testify. The 
service was held in the " Barn," a large slab building, not 
always very snug and wind-tight. On one occasion Mr. 
Butters was so troubled with the draught, that he preached 
with his hat on, a similar experience to that of the Rev. 
Mr. Sweetman at Brighton. At that time the roads or 
tracks were very rough, and Mr. JefFery was wont to meet 
the Melbourne preachers with his bullock dray at the foot of 
Rucker's Hill. About 1850 Mr. Jeffery gave a valuable site 
of land, in what he still loves to call " Irishtown," resenting 
the name Preston as a modern innovation and impertinence. 
The present Sabbath school, or at least two>liirds of it was 
erected on this land and then enlarged, until in 1863 the pre- 
sent stone Church was built from designs prepared by the 
late Rev. F. E. Stephenson, the first Superintendent of the 
Circuit. Preston Church and Circuit was a favourite resort 
for young preachers and "new chums." We can count four of 
our ex-presidents who began their commission here, while 
some ten Local Preachers found the work of this Circuit 
good training ground for the Christian ministry. Heidel 
BERCx was first known as "the Forest" (see Mr. Orton's 
MMS Circuit plan). The locality indicated by that name lay, 
says Mr. Stone, on the other (the Templestowe) side of the 
Yarra, which was then occupied by the huts of splitters, 
who supplied Melbourne with firewood. The Local 
Preachers were wont to take out tracts and hold service in 
some hut or in the open air. The access to this region 
must have been at that time, either by punt or through 
Richmond and Kew. About ten years after, preaching was 
commenced in Hick's paddock, Bulleen, first in Pullen's 
" Barn," then in the Denominational school built there, and 
the Rev. J. C. Symons and J. Harcourt, with Messrs. 


Michael, Cleverdon, Coleman, Alexander, and Chivers, first 
missioned the place. The late Messrs. Burnley, of Rich- 
mond, offered two acres of land in the township of Doncaster, 
but it was declined in favour of a site offered at Woodhouse 
Grove, while Doncaster proper became, and still remains, a 
strong hold of the Christian disciples. A grant of land 
(N.S.W.) at Heidelberg, was secured as early as 1851, and 
preaching commenced by the Rev. J. C. Symons and others, 
first in the open air, then in the Presbyterian Church 
kindly lent, next in the house of Mr. Hobson, and then 
under the shade of the trees in our Church reserve, untU 
in 1859 the present Church was built, and for some years 
well filled, until our people dispersed for fresh fields and 
pastures new, and only a few old standard-bearers as Messrs. 
Williams, Robinson, Pascoe, etc., are left to stand by our 
cause and wait for bi-ighter days. At Alpiiington a small 
Church of hard-wood stood on the hill opposite Rockbeare. 
It was then supplied by the Baptists, afterwards purchased 
and undertaken by the Wesleyans. Then the site of land 
on which the Church now stands, was given by Mrs. 
Hordern or Mr. Beaver, and Messrs. Fletcher, Webb, 
Bloys, Wimble, Wymond, Bogle, Adams, and P.W. Smith were 
identified with the outset of Methodism in this place. The 
old Church of hard-wood was removed to the present 
Church ground, and for awhile used as a stable, and at last 
the remains of it were (in 1884) sold for £1, at the time 
that a new porch to the present Church was being erected 
at a cost of £80, an illustration this of the old and new 
dispensations. South Preston. — After preaching for a 
while at Wilson's (Wilson's Farm), the Rev. R. Hart 
purchased the Church built by Mr. John Moon Bryant, 
(called by Mr. Ramsay, M.L.A., the Blacking Box), for 
£400, and many a good sermon has been preached, and 
many a pulpit fledgling first tried to fly there. The present 
Church was built in 1881. Thomastown is an old preach- 
ing place, named after Mr. and Mrs. J. Tliomas, who sleep 
with other " rude forefathers of the hamlet," in the little 


graveyard at the back of tlie State school. Preaching 
"was first held in a thatched house of Mr. Francis Thomas, 
then a weather-board Church Avas built for £700, and 
then the present bright and comely brick Church. Early 
friends : — Messrs. Tliomas, Cooper, Perry, Abbey, Stand- 
ing, Bishop, Sanson, B. and S. Johnson, Bower, etc. 
BuNDOORA. — In 1848 a Class was met at Mr. A. Hurl- 
stone's mill on the Plenty River, between Janefield and 
Greensborough, and Mr. Grimshaw, senior, walked three 
miles along the Plenty river to lead it. The " Old Mill," 
in the form of a picturesque ruin, still stands, a favourite 
resort of visitors and picnickers. There was preaching at 
Greensborough and Darebin Creek alternately, until Mr. 
Horatio Cooper offered Bundoora, and it was thouglit that 
a central Church at that place would meet the wants of the 
whole district ; but finding that the Thomastown friends 
were intent on having a Church on their own account, this 
was abandoned, and the use of Mr. Cooper's schoolroom was 
gladly accepted. Mrs. Cooper, sistei'-in-law of Mr. Witton, 
survives in the cheerful piety of a gay-green old age, a 
generous mother in our Israel, and one of the oldest inhabi- 
tants of the colony, having arrived in " Glenelg,' or " The 
Settlement," as it was first called, on January 1st, 1837. 
Greensborough. — Preaching was first held in " Meagher's 
Barn ;" then in Mr. A. Grimshaw's house ; then the old 
Church was built on the brow of the hill, opposite the 
Cemetery, and part of it may be seen in the late Mr. 
Britnell's stable, now standing, until at last the present 
pretty Church was erected. In the early days. Revs. 
Messrs. Butters, J. C. Symons, S. Waterhouse, J. Harcourt, 
B. S. Walker, Waddington, Currey, etc., preached here, 
and Mr. Grimshaw and his family, who had removed 
further into the bush, thought little of walking eight 
or ten miles to tlie means of grace. Messrs. Britnell, 
Hobson, and others took up the work, and Mr. William 
Fletcher (brother of Mr. P. P. Fletcher, now of New South 
Wales) was an an active agent in the founding of our 


cause. The Church, which began under the auspices 
of such Methodist names as those of Grimshaw and 
Fletcher, soon grew. Similar records of Methodist evolu- 
tion and development might be given of Yan Yean, Linton, 
WooLLERT and East Linton. Wiiittlesea. — Our Church 
here had an interesting origin. INIrs. F — , in early days the 
good hostess of the Alphington Hotel, found salvation in con- 
nection with our cause in that village, and took a lively 
interest in the erection of the Church, consecrating the spot 
by many prayers as the building was going up. The Circuit 
was blessed with I'ich revivals of rehgion, and, as the child of 
a revival, Mrs. F — took this spirit with her when she and 
her family removed to Castle Hill, near the Yan Yean 
Resei'voir. She pined for the lost means of grace, and 
eagerly asked of a boundary rider if there were no Christians 
in those parts. The man stared in blank dismay, as though 
to ask what sort of animals those might be. Mrs. F — 
next secured a room in the Yan Yean Reservoir Hotel, 
where weekly prayer-meetings were held, as many as sixty 
or eighty of all creeds and classes attended, and reformed 
lives and happy deaths attest that those labours were not 
in vain. Then followed the visits of the Revs. Messrs. 
Stubbs, Royce, and Tuckfield, and the local efforts of 
Messrs. Cunningham, Horsley ("the honest miller"). Lock- 
wood, Freeman, etc. A brick Church was soon erected and 
paid for, and Mrs. F — has lived to see nearly all her large 
family active and ardent members of the same. 

Praiiran, St. Kilda, South Melbourne, etc., etc. — 
These places could hardly be called subui'bs in the days 
(1851) of which we write. They were rather straggling 
outlying villages. Emerald Hill wore its virgin green with 
scarcely a dot or spot of building upon it. It had been known 
as Canvas Town, and before that as Brickfields, a collection 
of huts and tents on the flat across the Yarra, and near the 
punt which preceded Princes' Bridge. Newto\vn (now 
CoUingwood) is described by the Rev. N. Turner in 1847, 
as " a growiniir town about a mile from Melbourne." It is 


pleasant to ti'ace the start and spread of Methodism in 
these places. Prahran. — -While the Brighton Circuit was 
proposing to prospect and invade the little villages of 
Prahran and St. Kilda, a good brother from Tasmania had 
settled in the former place, and was casting about for oppor- 
tunities of doing good. This was John Smith, one of a 
tribe of that name who have been famous in many ways. 
He was one of the Rev. J. A. Manton's young band who 
had introduced Methodism at Perth, began the preaching at 
Longford in a barn, at Westbury in a Court-house, and at 
Launceston in a private room. He opened his cottage in 
the bush (a site now found between Union and Raleigh- 
streets), for prayer and preaching. Messrs. Archibald 
Somerville (a warm-heai'ted Irishman, now in New Zealand) 
and Frank Brown, were the first to hold forth in this 
place. Mr. Smith further built, largely at his own expense, 
the first little "Chapel" at Mount Erica, which grew and 
prospered, and whereof the present handsome Church pre- 
mises are the outcome. Mr. Smith also "prospected" in 
conjunction with Mr. Kingham, what was then known 
as Owensville, and Sunday school and preaching were held 
there for twelve months ; but under the new name of 
Caulfield it has long been a Methodist blank. Then came 
another from " the otlier side," "Tommy Turner," a remark- 
able man. In his unconverted state he was a member of 
the Ring, and used his double knuckles when occasion 
required with compound interest. Under the Ministry of 
the Rev. Messrs. Eggleston, N. Turner, and Butters, he 
found mercy and soon became an earnest worker for God. 
He opened his house for preaching, and then put up what 
is still lovingly remembered as " The Raggetty Tent," near 
where the Windsor station now stands. Messrs. Bailey, 
Moorhead, and Green, still living, have worshipped in that 
tent. Mr. Bailey also stood by Tommy Turner as his 
faithful henchman, when they held open-air service under 
a peppermint tree where Green-street now runs. A !Mr. 
John Turnbull, of Richmond, is said to have been the first 


who preached there; he was a fine Christian man, "who 
laboured hard for two years and then through much tribu- 
lation, entered the kingdom." Cottage pi-ayer meetings 
were also held in Mr. Green's house. Then Mr. and Mrs, 
Moorhouse (warm Irish Methodists) taking a child to the 
Rev. W. Butters to be baptized, that faithful watchman 
spoke to them of a site for a Church at Prahran, when Mr. 
Moorhouse, turning to his wife, said, "What do you say 
wife?" and they agreed there and then to give the corner of 
Margaret-street and Commercial-road, on which was erected 
the first iron Church. A more eligible site of land was 
soon after obtained from the Government at the corner of 
Punt-road and Commercial-road, and the "iron pot" was 
removed thither, Mr. Moorhouse giving a handsome dona- 
tion and had the land back again. Mr. Moorhouse also 
gave, some few years after, a worthy son to our Ministry, 
who was called, before he had finished his student's course, 
to the rest and service of the Church above. The new 
iron-pot Church was opened about the year 1853. One 
of the sermons was preached by the then Mr. B. Cocker, 
since then the Rev. Dr. Cocker, Professor of Ann Arbor 
College, Michigan. At the tea-meeting which followed, 
Mr. John Bromley, who had just arrived by the first 
trip of the good ship Great Britain was present. The 
advent of this good brother of ominous name created a 
little commotion. He had acted as Chaplain on the voyage 
out, and on his arrival was confounded with the Rev. 
James Bromley, a prominent leader of the Methodist agita- 
tion of 1851, and it was presumed that he had come to 
these shores on a similar mission. The Argus thus reported 
this imagined disturber of the peace, but a more loyal 
Methodist or kindly brother one could hardly meet, the 
only resemblance between the two was that they wei'e both 
first-rate preachers. The writer preached in this famous 
iron-pot Church the first Sabbath after his arrival in 1856, 
and had a melting season, owing to the intense heat of the 
day. But it was a converting furnace in a better sense 


than tliis, and the scene of many blessings. After the 
present Church in Punt-road was built it was used as a 
"Common" and Sabbath school, then demolished and brought 
to the hammer in 1877, when the present school premises 
were built. The elaborate and expensive pulpit apparatus of 
the old iron-pot may be seen in the Wesleyan Churcli, 
Alphington. The Rev. Dr. Waugh, then a single man, was 
the first resident Minister of the Circuit, and its spreading 
growth and strength in later times owes much to the wise 
and faithful Ministry of its early pastors, as well as 
to the simple and primitive labours of the pioneers before 
noted. In the quiet days before the uproar and dis- 
traction of the diggings began, Mr. Turnbull, who had 
begun prayer meetings at Richmond and Prahran, was 
engaged with a fellow-workman (Robert Glenfield 1) in 
felling and sawing timber in the neighbourhood, and was 
desired to start a cottage prayer meeting at St. Kilda. 
This they did in a cottage near the present railway ter- 
minus, carrying the forms to and fro on their shoulders, 
until October, 1851, when the rush to the diggings seemed 
for awhile to arrest and upset everything else. The first 
preaching was held under the verandah at the residence of 
the Hon. F. E. Beaver, Alma-road, and Mr. Stevens his 
next neighbour, and then in Mr. Stanford's parlour, the 
house in which Mr. Bell, father-in-law of the late Mr. 
Walter Powell, lived and died. Mr. Bromley remembers 
preaching there in those days. The first Class meeting was 
held in Acland-street, and the late Mr. Henry Jennino-s 
solicitor, was its Leader. He too had opened his house for 
preaching, and Mr. Bailey often carried the forms to and 
fro between "TheRaggetty Tent" and Mr. Jennings'. Mr. 
Bailey remembers too that the services were somewhat stiff 
and solemn, inasmuch as the hymns were "said" instead of 
" sung." Mr. T. J. Crouch, afterwards the popular pre- 
centor, had not then arrived. Mr. Jennings was also at 
that time the treasurer of the Children's Fund, while Mr. 
Galagher was treasurer for the old Preachers' Fund, and 


Mr. Beaver for the Kingswood and Woodhouse Grove 
schools. A second Class was started at Mr. Watchorn's, 
corner of Argyle and High-streets, and Mr. J. Smith was 
its Leader for about eighteen months. Then a small 
weather-board building, playfully called " the pepper box," 
was put up, a part of which is now used as the Sunday 
school. The present Church was erected in the days of the 
Rev. Mr. Bickford (?), and opened by the Rev Dr. Jobson. 
Messrs. W. Powell, Gardiner, Stevens, Beaver, Burgess, 
Frazer, J. Smith, Hurst, and Peterson were some of the early 
pioneers. The Rev. S. Knight and R. M. Hunter, of South 
Australia, and Floyd, Anglican Yicar of Fiji, were among 
the men of note, who began their career in this Circuit. 
South Melbourne, formerly Emerald Hill and Brickfields. 
— Mr. John Bromley remembers preaching here in a tent 
(1853), which, however, was soon capsized and laid low. 
He (Mr. Bromley) had brought the claims of Emerald Hill 
before the Quarterly Meeting just held, and himself with 
Messrs. Powell and Cooke were appointed a Committee to 
make arrangements for a Church. In concert with Mr. 
Bee, a small weather-board Church was built, and in a 
fortnight was found insufficient to contain the congregation. 
A transept was added, and at length the present noble 
structure erected ; the old premises being utilized for 
Sunday school purposes. Mr. J. Bromley, who had com- 
menced the cause, preached the last sermon in the old 
weather-board building, the congregation removing to the 
Mechanics' Institution, until the new Church was ready. 
The Circuit has grown since that day, having a fine Church 
and prosperous cause in the centre, and oul^stations cluster- 
ing around. Richmond. — In 1848-50 Mr. John TurnbuU 
with the hearty help of Mr. John Bailey, now of South Yarra, 
held cottage prayer meetings, and founded a small Sunday 
school and Library, until a small brick building Avas erected 
in Brougham-street, ofi" Cliurch-street, and going down to the 
Richmond Flat. One who came over from Prahran to this 
place in 1848, describes the people as "very social and 


homely, the Church crowded, and the services delightful : 
it seemed like one prolonged revival." Mr. Watchorn also 
remarks that " though we seldom had the itinerant Minis- 
ters in Little Richmond, yet the Master was there, for His 
Spirit often descended with power. Once, while singing, an 
extraordinary influence was felt, and Mr. Frank Brown, 
the preacher, exclaimed, " If here we feel like this, what 
must it be to be there !" Mr. Blackledge, then " a terror 
to evil doers," used to play the flute, and remembers 
Messrs. Dredge, and Parker preaching there. Messrs. 
Blencowe, Baldwin, Wellard, Galagher, Horton, Hewitt^ 
and O'Brien preached thei'e in after days, and notably 
a warm-hearted Irishman, named Archibald Somerville. 
Two Classes were formed, led by Mr. O. Parnham, 
senior, and Mr. N. Guthridge. Mr. R. Guthridge was the 
superintendent of the Sunday school. The writer in 1866 
saw the remains of this old Brougham-street Chapel a 
dilapidated ruin, a shelter and refuge for the goats of the 
neighbourhood. The present Church was undertaken with 
great enthusiasm. Mr. Horsfall who was present on the 
occasion, speaks of the first tea meeting held on its behalf, 
when some £1500 were promised. Mr. Henry Miller 
gave the land on which the Church now stands, and was 
one of the first trustees and seatholders. The following are 
some of the names prominently identified with the early 
days of the present Richmond Church. Messrs. Hurst, 
Andrew, Fielding, Burnley, Stirling, Bosisto, Winter, Hyde, 
Shaw, Britten, Bedggood, etc. At that time (1866) there 
were Churches at Baker-street, Hoddle-street, Charles-street, 
and service at Simpson's-road (Mr Puckey's school), and 
Rose-street, all of which have since disappeared or been 
superseded. Cremorne. — The present pleasant Church 
quarters are the outcome of hope deferred and weary waiting, 
When the writer first knew the place there was but a small 
weatherboard building, unattractive, and insufiicient for 
both Church and School. The neighbourhood was low, and 
we had to fight to keep the public houses at a decent 


distance from our Church. The Sabbath school was doing 
good, and as it was a sort of School-Chapel, its anniversary 
was generally popular. Mr. J. T. Harcourt or Mr. Bosista 
was commonly in the chair, and took a great interest in 
the place. Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt, Messrs. Moad, and 
Parker clave to the cause from the first. Mr. and Mrs. 
Hewitt were godly and devoted Yorkshire Methodists, 
Class Leaders, and Sabbath school Teachers, almost up to 
the end of their long and happy lives, and until all the powers 
of language and memory failed. Like Simeon and Anna of 
old they departed not from the temple, but served God 
night and day, and often wondered whether they should 
see a more beautiful and becoming Sanctuary rise on the 
spot. They had " long patience" for it, and when at last it 
came to pass, they were ready to say, " Lord, now lettest 
thou thy servant depart in peace ; for mine eyes have seen 
thy salvation." Father Hewitt, in his palmy days, was a 
power for good. There was great heart and life in his 
preaching. " He could give," says Mr Watchorn, " a 
long sermon in the orthodox short time." Who that heard 
him will forget his pleading prayers and the heartfelt glow 
with which he would give out his favourite hymn, " Jesus, 
the name high over all." He believed, and therefore spake. 
For sixty years with unsparing zeal, he preached the death 
by which we live, until the weary wheels of life stood stUl." 
Hawthorn. — Tlie Rev. J. C. Symons first preached here on 
a stump, and then the Local Preachers followed. A little 
brick Church was built at Red Gum Flat (Upper Haw- 
thorn) ; and in 1865 the splendid site of two acres at 
Lower Hawthorn was fenced in, and a neat weather-board 
Church built upon it. Some slight conflict between the 
claiuis of Upper and Lower Hawthorn, culminated in the 
disposal of both these properties, and the erection of the 
present Church, which in turn, has become too small for the 
wants of the locality. The Church and ground at Lower 
Hawthorn Avere disposed of for what would now be deemed 
a vei-y inadequate sum, and the Church turned into a Flock 


Manufactory. A site has been secured again at high cost 
■for another Church in that thriving and populous district. 
Messrs. Copeland, Vasey, Pease, Johnson, Brookes, Powell, 
were among the early ones. Burwood, (formerly Bally- 
shannasy, and before that Damper's Creek and Woodhouse 
Grove, are old stations with very pleasant associations, 
and many worthy names are entwined in their history. 



Geelong. — Mr. Tuckfield preached the first sermon in 
this place on July 28th, 1838, from the text Psalm Ixxxiv., 
verse 1 1 . He not only visited the natives in the district 
and prepared to commence his mission to them, but gathered 
the white people together, first in Dr. Thompson's parlour, 
and then in a barn or end of the store on the banks of 
the Barwon, belonging to a company, for whom Mr. David 
Fisher was manager. On the first or second occasion of 
this kind, it is stated by Mrs. Caldwell, then Mrs. Hurst, 
that Miss Newcombe found salvation in Christ, and became 
henceforth a valued and devoted servant of Christ. Mr. 
Hurst settled at Geelong in February, 1839, and began 
at once to conduct Divine service and care for the 
many natives living there, until the Van Dieman's Land 
District Meeting in October, 1839, directed him to join Mr. 
Tuckfield at Buntingdale, and the two Missionaries gave 
themselves mainly to the native work. They, however, sup- 
plied Melbourne and Geelong alternately, each one staying 
eight days (two Sundays) every two months, while the 
intervening Sundays were occupied by Local Preachers. 
The Rev. Mr. Skevington also, who sojourned sometime at 
Buntingdale, helped the cause both at Geelong and Mel- 
bourne. He was a saintly man and popular preacher. His 


sturdy principle once forbad him to kill a sheep on the 
Sabbath, even though it was to provide a dinner for 
Governor Latrobe and suite, who had unexpectedly arrived 
at Buntingdale on that day. He fell dead in the pulpit, the 
first of more than a dozen of our Colonial Ministers, whose 
"life and work" have been closed by a sudden and tragic end. 
On May 5th, 1839, the Rev. J. Orton, then on his second 
visit to Port Phillip, preached at Fisher's store — Miss 
Newcombe leading the singing. In 1840 Mr. James Smith 
arrived at Geelong, and commenced the first Class meeting, 
consisting of six or eight members. In 1841 Mr. James 
Sanderson followed, and shortly after the Rev. F. Tuckfield 
"announced" that on a specified "Wednesday a second 
Class would be commenced, under the care of Mr. San- 
derson, much to the astonishment of that dear brother. 
This class prospered and grew, until Mr. Sanderson had to 
leave for Western Port, and Miss Newcombe was appointed 
the Leader. After twelve months Mr. Sanderson returned 
and resumed work in Geelong. He commenced a new Class at 
Mr. Hindhaugh's, Ashby, and for seventeen years this devoted 
brother met two or three classes every week, and preached 
generally three times on the Sabbath. Mr. James Smith 
was equally active and useful, and on these two brethren, 
associated with the Missionaries from Buntingdale, the 
burden of the work at that time lay, and by them the 
foundations of our Church were laid. The only change was 
an occasional visit of a Local Preacher, or the Rev. S. 
"Wilkinson from Melboui-ne, at an expense of two guineas, 
the steamer fare. God's blessing was upon the infant cause, 
and the societies and congregations greatly increased. The 
next step was the erection of a Church. This is the Rev. 
B. Hurst's account of it : — " The fi'iends of Geelong were 
now desirous of building a Chapel, and a subscription-list 
was opened for the purpose, and considerable sums were 
promised. But as mechanics were scarce, and materials 
and labour high, it was deemed a matter of prudence not to 
commence the Chapel at present. But as the wants of the 


congregation were urgent, Mr. Wilkinson requested me to 
relieve them of the difficulty, by providing them with a 
temporary place of worship. This I consented to do, on 
condition of their paying me a modex'ate interest on the 
outlay, and which was to be deducted from the £50 which 
I had promised towards the new Chapel. I now purchased 
a two-storey weatherboard store, which was offered for sale, 
and which was to be removed from the land on which it 
stood. I then had to purchase land to put it on. This 
being accomplished we commenced preparations for removing 
it. "We took out the doors and windows and braced the 
windows as firmly as possible. By leverage we raised it so 
as to be able to put two wooden axle trees under it. We 
borrowed four wheels, and on Saturday, 12th February, 
1842, we hooked two teams of bullocks to it, and drew it to 
the land I had purchased, about 150 yards off. The whole 
of the next week was spent in fitting it up for Divine 
worship. We cut away about two-thirds of the upper floor 
leaving the other third for a gallery to which we ascended by 
a step-ladder placed in the front. On February 20th, 1842, 
I had the honour and pleasure of opening it for divine wor- 
ship, and as a Wesleyan Chapel and Schoolroom, it was used 
for about four years." The building above referred to was 
purchased from Mr. Williams, and the spot of land to 
which it was removed was in Yarra-street, the new Church 
stood at that time " alone among tlie trees of the forest in 
a highly romantic spot." A tribe of natives, " numbering 
170 souls, had pitched their camp close to the Chapel and 
passed their time either in playing at war or amusing them- 
selves with "boisterous fun and games" (Sanderson). This 
sufficed to remind then\ that they were in a heathen land and 
to provoke and engage their Missionary zeal and sympathy. 
The Rev. S. Wilkinson, in the Jubilee number of the 
Spectator, May 22nd, 1886; gives a graphic and humourou 
sketch of this two-storey Church. At the Jubilee meeting 
of the Geelong Circuit, one was present who had worshipped 
in this odd place, while another aged lady was " presented" 


who had heard Orton's first sermon on Batman's Hill. 
Another sur-sdvor of Mr. Orton's small congregation, Mr. Raid, 
was present at the Bairnsdale Jubilee services. The Church 
and congregation at Yarra-street so grew and multiplied, that 
it was resolved to secure some one to take charge of them. 
The leading men called a meeting and gave themselves to 
prayer for Divine direction. They could not obtain a 
regular Minister, and as the Church was not erected on 
Government ground, no State aid could be obtained. The 
Melbourne March Quarterly Meeting deputed two of their 
number, Messrs. Witton and Thorpe, to visit Geelong to 
ascertain what pecuniary aid the people would render. The 
sum of £106 (another account says £70) per annum was 
promised, and Mr. Dredge, " a most acceptable Local 
Preacher, who had just resigned his office of Assistant- 
Protector of Aborigines," was engaged as hired Local 
Preacher, and opened his commission there in June, 1842, 
Dr. Thompson kindly providing him with a cottage, rent 
free. The narrative before us (Sanderson's) is glowing and 
enthusiastic in its admiration of this excellent man. It 
speaks of his mighty genius, great abilities, deep sympathies, 
great self-possession, and untiring attention. He possessed 
great power in prayer, and was mighty in the Scriptures : 
his preaching being of the expository style, duly noting the 
context and explaining the whole in language plain and 
simple, so that all the people understood him, " the clear 
development of some fine train of thought winding through 
close and convincing reasoning, and warming into earnest 
appeal, his thoughts multiplying towards the close of the 
sermon." His praise was in all the Churches, the cause 
began to spread, and many other places were opening up 
for the preacliing of the Gospel. First among these was 
Ashby, where Mr. Hindhaugh opened his house for preaching, 
and the Class, before mentioned, was meeting, " which sur- 
vives unto this day (1871), and meets in Hope-street." 
(See a pleasant sketch in the Spectator for 1884, page 283, 
of the subsequent history of Ashby Church and cause from 


1857.) Mr. James Smith undertook the care of this place, 
meeting the Class alternately with the other leader (Mr. 
Sanderson), as well as his own Class in the Chapel on 
Sabbath morning. At New Town, land was given by 
Mr. James Austin, of Barwon Park and a cause com- 
menced. Mr. Dredge laboured with great acceptance for 
more than two years, when an insidious disease obliged him 
to remove to Melbourne, and then return to England. He 
died, however, shortly before the ship reached his native 
shores. He was buried on the land, and as a token of the 
esteem iii which he was held, Dr. Bunting, who had selected 
him for the position of Aboriginal Protector, conducted the 
service. The Chronicler dwells lovingly on Mr. Dredge's 
farewell sermon from "Work out your own salvation with 
fear and trembling, etc.," and describes the farewell tea 
meeting held on the follo^^'ing night, when Mr. James 
Smith, for himself and others, presented Mr. Dredge 
with a purse of sovereigns, in token of the high esteem 
in which he was held, and their grief at parting. Mr. 
Dredge, in acknowledging their gift, makes especial refer- 
ence to those " elect ladies" who had laboured \vith 
him in the vineyard of the Lord, and to whose kind- 
ness he was so greatly indebted. Thus early did one 
of the distinguishing glories of Geelong Methodism, viz., 
the loyalty and devotion of Christian womanhood, assert 
itself. Of that meeting the narrative rather boldly 
asserts, "that no meeting since held has equalled it in the 
love they displayed for one another, and for the great 
Redeemer's cause." The first Missionary Meeting iii Geelong 
was held during Mr. Dredge's ministry, March 1842. The 
Chapel was filled to overflowing, the chair being occupied 
by F. Fen wick, Esq., P.M. A deputation from Melbourne 
was present, aud addresses delivered by F. Champain, Esq., 
Messrs, J. Smith, Dredge, etc. Glowing reference is made 
to the rich influence that attended that meeting, and the 
eloquent speech of the Rev. A. Love, who, while discoursing 
on the results of this salvation, appeared to be " caught up 


to the third heaven." Next came the movement to erect a 
new Church on the two acres of land given by the Govern- 
ment, and occupied by the present Yarra-street Church. 
The foundation-stone was laid by Dr. Thomson, several 
Ministers were present, addresses delivered, and a " collector 
appointed." Then a most crowded tea meeting was held 
in the old Chapel, " the first public tea meeting held in 
Geelong." Dr. Thomson presided at the public meeting, 
and the narrator gives his speech at length, consisting of a 
pleasing exposition and application of Jacob's dream. Then 
followed speeches from Rev. F. Tuckfield, Mr. James Smith, 
and Captain Forsythe (a good Local Preacher, and whose 
crew, being all members of Society, were present in their 
naval uniform). The lively and popular Rev. A. Love 
created some diversion, by complaining of the morning 
slumbers and the prolonged toilets of too many, which 
made them late for worship, and suggested that a bell 
should be placed at Mr. J. Smith's, Kardinia-street, to ring 
them up on a Sunday morning, indicating a respectable 
tradesman present, who would provide the bell. Captain 
Forsythe, however, claimed this pleasure. Mr. Dredge 
then followed with the collection-speech, quoting Dr. 
Newton with happy effect. After the laying of the 
foundation-stones, a lull of some months followed owing 
to the declining health of Mr. Dredge. Mr. Thompson, 
a sort of supply (though not from the President's 
list of reserve) came to help him, and gave " great 
satisfaction to the people." Indeed, the historian says, 
these pioneer preachers reminded him of the simplicity 
and devotion of the Apostles of early Methodism. Mr. 
Dredge was succeeded by the Rev. William Lowe, 1846, 
" whose Ministry was made a blessing to many who will be 
the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus." 
(Hurst.) Then came Revs. W. Cox Currey (1847), F. 
Tuckfield (1848), when Geelong was detached from Mel- 
and constituted a separate Circuit, F. Lewis (1850), W. 
Lightbody (assisting or supplying for Mr. Lewis, 1852), R. 


Hart (1853). The years from 1853 come within the memory 
of many still living and need not be amplified. Interesting 
incidents and illustrations of this period are given in the 
Rev. T. "Williams' "Memoirs of Mr. James Wood." In those 
years came the varied and grateful ministries of the Revs. 
Messrs. J. Harding, Symons, Hill, Dare, Daniel, and 
others, under which the Circuit prospered and grew. Mr. 
Harding had something of the ardour and spirit of a pioneer 
Bishop of the Far West, and has since found fine scope for 
these gifts, and done good service in New Zealand and 
Queensland. There was just at that time a danger of 
contracting debts in reckless fashion, and of our developing 
some Colonial edition of Valentine Ward, a name identified 
in Methodist tradition with the debts and difliculties of our 
work in Scotland. But the peril had the effect of inspiring 
Geelong Methodists with a wholesome dread of debt, and of 
provoking those heroic efforts which have been made from 
time to time to encounter it, until the Circuit has 
attained a state of financial relief and repose which looks in 
the eyes of others almost Elysian. Mr. Harding, if not like 
Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord, had the nobler 
fame of an ardent appetite for Chapel building, a line in 
which he has had some worthy, though remote successors. 
Shenton House, in Geelong, for many years past the scene 
of a flourishing Sunday school, will ever be associated with 
Mr. Harding's name and work. Under date of June 1st, 
1855, he says : — " My esteemed predecessor, the Rev. F. 
Lewis, with his helper, Mr. Hart, completed our principal 
Church in Yarra-street, at a cost of £3000, of which 
a floating debt of £850 has lately been cancelled by 
our liberal people of Geelong. At South Geeloxg, a 
brick Chapel has been erected and paid for at a cost 
of £1400. At Chilwell one has also been built at a cost 
of £2,200, with a debt of £850. A brick Chapel is also 
completed at Tuckfield to a considerable degree through 
the liberality of Miss Newcombe. A stone Chapel is also 
in course of erection at Ceres, amidst the cornfields of the 


Barrabool Hills, which will cost £500, and at Hightox a 
neat little brick Chapel was opened the other day. These, 
besides five other Chapels of wood, have been erected 
during the past year, while five Day schools have been 
established. So that the Geelong Circuit now comprises 
twelve places of worship and eight Day schools affording 
accommodation for 2,300 souls, and daily instruction given 
(gratuitously when necessary) to 510 children, with at least 
an equal number of Sabbath schools, Avhich are conducted 
with as much zeal and ability as similar institutions at 
home." The Rev. J. C. Symons with his wonted energy 
seems to have paid special attention to Sunday school 
work, and he and his colleague gave lectures to teachers, 
held a preparation Class, and formed a Sabbath school 
Quarterly Union, in which young native talent was 
developed, and wise counsel taken as to the best methods of 
teaching. This was long before the Sabbath school branch 
of our work had become so prominent and popular as the 
Wesleyan Sabbath school Union and Magazine have made 
it. Geelong has long been famous for its State and 
Grammar schools, and thus early and wisely did our Church 
begin its career of Sabbath schools, the finished result of 
which is found in the excellent pattern schools of Yarra- 
street, Newtown, and Chilwell. A Methodist visiting 
Geelong will hardly fail to visit the Yarra-street school, 
whose enthusiastic Superintendent, Mr. G. Hitchcock, may 
well be proud of its perfect organization and excellent 
results, while in one particular form of fruitfulness, the 
Chilwell school seems beyond all others — the following 
Ministers having graduated there : — Revs. Messrs. Minns, 
Moore, Maddern, Ingamells, Adams, Lowe, Osborn, Hillard, 
Johns, Fitchett, etc. (See a most interesting sketch 
of the Yarra-street Sunday school, past and present, 
in the Spectator, October 3rd, 1884, p. 246, which we would 
gladly transfer to these pages, if space permitted). The 
Circuit was further blessed with the solid and edifying 
Ministries of Messrs. Binks, Wells, Eggleston, Bickford, 


Cope, Watkin, and Bath, with their equally worthy col- 
leagues, while among its faithful Laymen of earlier days : — 
Messrs. Towle, Rix, Howell, Hunt, Balding, Mowbray, 
Peters, Gaylard, Ham, Hitchcock, Thacker, Wyatt, Ducker, 
N. J. and W. H. Brown and others deserve honourable 
mention. " Grandfather Lowe" is a name which " blossoms 
in the dust," and whose memory is fragrant in many hearts 
and homes. Geelong has also been rich in "elect ladies" of 
noble Christian worth, as Mrs. Wood, and Miss Nanette 
<5uinan among the departed, whose characters have been 
beautifully delineated by the graphic pen of the Rev. T. 
Williams, in his " Memoirs of Mr. James Wood," while 
among the living, the "unfeigned faith" of the fond and 
pious ancestry suggested by the name, "Grandfather Lowe," 
is preserved and prolonged in the abundant philanthropy and 
Christian devotion of the estimable wife of the superintendent 
of Yarra-street Sabbath school and others that might be 
named. Other notable features of Geelong Methodism 
are its Missionary spirit, and especially its attachment 
to its Ministers. The aggressive spirit of our Church over- 
flowed in various directions. Colac was visited by the 
Rev. Mr. Hill in 1858. Mr. Hill preached at Mr. Dennis' 
in the morning, and at the Presbyterian Church in the after- 
noon and evening of the day. Though in theory, attached to 
the Geelong Circuit and visited by its Ministers, the spiritual 
wants of the place, so far as our Church could supply them, 
were met by the appointment of Mr. Hiskens, of Colling- 
wood, as Home Missionary. Mr. Hiskens laboured there 
with diligence and acceptance for many years, preaching in 
Mr. Dennis' " Barn," the Manse, and in the township, until 
lie lived to see two substantial Churches of brick and stone 
erected, and the place occupied as a " fully-accredited" 
Circuit. The first brick Church was erected on the five 
acres of ground on which the handsome new parsonage, the 
gift of Alexander Dennis, Esq., now stands ; it was after- 
wards removed and embodied in the present Sunday school 
which stands at the rear of the new Church built in Main- 


street during the ministry of the Rev. T. Grove. Mention 
should be made of the generous help and services of Messrs. 
Butcher, Talbot, and especially of Mr. Dennis, a right 
hearty Methodist of the old school, one of the early pioneers 
of that part, whose hospitable home was a favourite resort 
and rest for the Buntingdale Missionaries, and after 
them for Messrs. Harding, Dare, Field, and many 
others, — whose hand and heart were given in loving service 
and generous benefactions to that Zion which he preferred 
" above his chief joy" — and who survives in a green old age 
to magnify the grace of God, and rejoice in hope of his 
glory. Mention is made to those early days of Christian 
labours at Swan Lake, Lethbridge, Kensington, Indented 
Heads, Tuckfield (now Drysdale). The latter place must 
be ever associated with the names of those "elect" and 
estimable ladies : — Miss Newcombe and Miss Drysdale, who 
for many years resided there, and were ready for every 
good work. 

Ballarat. — A somewhat nebulous haze lies over the 
outset of Methodism in Ballarat, so far as it is now pos- 
sible to determine the exact spot where our Church started, 
or the agent and instrument Avho first introduced it. 
Through this mist there are seen flickering sundry " sparks 
of grace" in various directions, which presently kindled and 
combined into one steady and aspiring flame. In other 
words amid the fortuitous concourse of human atoms which 
came together at the outbreak of the diggings, there was 
also the good seed of the kingdom which in a kindly soil, 
forthwith began to germinate and grow. "Various detach- 
ments of Methodists had hastened thither from Melbourne 
and elsewhere, and three parties known to the writer claim 
to have been the first, or among the first, to hold some 
kind of Methodist service on the diggings. Mr. Mathew 
Waite, Mr. Thorpe and " Father" Hewitt, of Richmond, 
since gone to their reward, at once formed little bands, and 
held prayer meetings in their tents. Mr. Waite sketched 
out a rough plan of work for the few Methodists then 



in the field, while Messrs. Bailey and Hewitt have told the 
writer that they were present at the first Love Feast held 
under a tree. In the Rev. T. Williams' "Life of Mr. 
Wood, of Geelong," is a graphic sketch of such tent worship 
as was frequent in the first days of digging life at Ballarat, 
Mount Alexander, and elsewhere. Messrs. Hunt and 
Wood had joined the tent party, which now numbered five. 
Not only did they take in turn to conduct family worship, 
night and morning, but at noon and " crib time," two 
of their number would read in turn a portion of the 
Scriptures, and offer earnest prayer. Instead of the usual 
cry of Smoke O ! was the more grateful dessert of Prayer 
O ! This proved a bond of strength and help, and blessing 
" than gold and pearls more precious far !" But the most 
definite and authentic narrative is that supplied by the 
venerable Father Sanderson, the true pioneer preacher of 
Ballarat Methodism, who has just passed away at the ripe 
age of eighty-seven years. The narrative which is as follows, 
was taken from Mr. Sanderson's lips by the Rev. G. Daniel 
and published in the Spectator : — 
The first Methodist sermon preached in Ballarat was 
delivered by Mr. James Sanderson, of Geelong, on Sabbath, 
29th September, 1851, at eleven a.m., from 1. Cor. vi. 19, 
20. After the preaching a subscription-list was opened for 
the purpose of purchasing a tent in which to worship God. 
The first donation (£1) was given by a young man, 
Edward Jones, from Hobart. Nuggets and gold dust 
from their match-boxes were freely given by the diggers. 
This was the first collection in aid of a place of worship 
made on the goldfields of Ballarat. 

At the above service it was announced that the mem- 
bers of society would meet at two o'clock that afternoon. 
A small tent was filled by them long before the hour, and 
many were unable to get in. 

A Class, consisting of the following persons, was at once 
formed -.—James Sanderson (leader), Edmund Mathews, 


Amos Downing, Thomas Morgan, James Bradley, Mathew 
Waite, John Rees, William Foster, James Tonner, and 
several others. While the Class-meeting was being held, a 
gentleman, attracted by the singing, rode up to the tent, 
and inquired of those outside what was the nature of 
the service. He was told that it was a Methodist 
Class meeting. The gentleman replied, "I am the Rev. 
Mr. Hastie, of Buninyong. As I shall be preaching at 
the commissioner's tent shortly, I will wait half an hour 
for them to come and sing for me." A good number 
went. This concluded the first Sabbath services observed 
at Ballarat. 

On the next Sabbath, 6th October, sermons were 
preached by the Rev. Frederick Lewis, of Geelong — in the 
morning on the flat below where the present Christ Church, 
Lydiard-street, stands, and in the afternoon at the foot of 
Black Hill. Large numbers attended both sermons. 

On the 13th October I was to have preached, but 
through indisposition was unable, and Mr. Hewitt, of 
Sydney, conducted the service. " His text was, " The 
Lord shut him in." The sermon was one of the most suit- 
able I have heard preached on the goldfields. On the 20th 
October the Rev. Mr. Moody, of Geelong, preached in the 
afternoon. As I was meeting my Class I did not hear the 

On the 27th October we held a fellowship meeting 
very near the spot on which the Freehold Bank ( Mr. James 
Oddie's) now stands. There were some fine trees on this 
spot, which gave a good shade, and when we had cleared 
away the fallen timber there was ample space for the 
large company. The singing was good. Many gave their 
experiences, gracious influences were felt, and the whole 
service afforded not only immediate spiritual benefit, but 
the most blessed memories. 

Owing to the inclement weather, there was no service 
on November 3rd. During the following week we were 
busy preparing to erect the tent. I sat up the whole 


of one night helping to get it in order for the follow- 
ing Sabbath. 

On the 10th November I preached in the new tent, at 
two p.m., from Isaiah xii. 2 — ■" Behold, God is my salva- 
tion." In applying the subject, I observed that it was a 
personal matter — " my salvation " and the Good Spirit 
applied the truth to the heart of a Mr. Davis, from Geelong. 
As he was returning from the service with his sons he said 
to them — " You go on ; I must return to the tent." He 
came in and told us of the distress of his soul. I and 
another prayed with him, and continued pleading for 
about three hours, when at sundown, he was enabled to say 
— " God is my salvation ; I will trust Him, and not be 
afraid." This was the first conversion known to have 
occurred in connection with our services in this district. 
Mr. Davis had from his boyhood been a member of an 
Independent Church in London, but had never felt the 
Spirit's witness and power as at that service. A short time 
after this he met with an accident which proved fatal. His 
son sent me an account of his death, which was triumphant. 
And so our friend went soon to heaven, " being the first- 
fruits" of Ballarat Methodism " unto God and the Lamb." 

Mr. Howell qualifying a little Mr. Sanderson's state- 
ment, speaks of a small prayer meeting and class meet- 
ing held in Mr. M. Waite's tent, and of Mr. R. Wilson, 
of Geelong, and of himself retiring with Bible and Hymn 
book into the bush, and getting at times as far as Bunin- 
yong, for want of regular services, and in order to get away 
from the dissipation and Sabbath-breaking which prevailed. 
It is possible that both these statements, from different 
points of view, are substantially correct. The diggings 
were so shifting and widespread, and such multitudinous 
confusion prevailed, that it would be well nigh impossible 
to get a clear and comprehensive view of what was going 
on, and probably simultaneous efforts arose in various 
directions. A short lull next follows, occasioned by the 
superior attractions of the Forest Creek diggings, which left 


Ballarat almost deserted. The tide, however, soon turned, 
and the next incident in the history of our Church, recorded 
in the first page of the " First Minute Book of the Ballarat 
Cix'cuit," as follows : — " List of subscriptions and dona- 
tions towards the purchase of a tent, to be erected on the 
Ballarat diggings, for the purpose of public worship in con- 
nection with the Wesleyan Methodist Church ; also, for the 
establishment of a Sunday school and of a Day school, if 
found practicable. March, 1853." Thirty-four subscribers 
contributed £39 13s. Only two names of the first members 
of Society are found in the list, indicative of the shifting 
character of a population " with no certain dwelling place." 
Some eight or ten names are found in this primitive and 
honourable list, or may be traced in their descendants, who 
are still true to their first love, though now worshipping in a 
temple instead of a tent. A meeting of the subscribers was 
held on April 7th, 1853, when it was agreed "that in case 
of a majority of them removing from the Ballarat diggings, 
they shall be entitled to carry the tent with them ; unless 
in the event of the arrival of a Minister, and the formation 
of a regular Society here, when the tent shall be considered 
the property of such Society, in trust for the purposes for 
■which it was purchased." This was a wise precaution, as 
subsequent events showed, for, after all, this joint-stock- 
moveable-tent, like a certain moveable feast controversy of 
ecclesiastical history, created debate and ditficulty. The 
"little flock" did not wait for "the arrival of a Minister," 
but vindicated the character which Methodism has borne 
from the days of Thomas Maxwell, its first Local Preacher, 
as a child of providential emergencies, by beginning to work 
and organize. The tent was removed from Winter's Flat, 
Ballarat East, to Wesley Hill, near Pennyweight, and at a 
meeting of the Society held therein on May 26th, Mr. Hill 
presiding, various Sunday and week day services were 
appointed, consisting of prayer meetings and preachings, 
Sunday school and Bible class. The Society classes were 
held, one in Mrs. Morrow's tent on Sunday morning, one in 


*'The Chapel" on Tuesday evening, and one in Mr. 
Reynolds' tent on Wednesday evening. Two leaders (viz., 
Messrs. Thompson, Hill, M'Cutchan, and Lowe) were 
appointed to each Class, except the female Class. Mr. 
Thompson was an able Local Preacher, and surprised his 
Presbyterian hearers by his extemporaneous eloquence. Mr. 
M'Cutchan is now a respected Minister of the Presbyterian 
Church, the others remain, or are represented among us 
to this day. Mr. Matthews was Cha])el Steward ; Mr. 
M'Cutchan, Sabbath school superintendent ; Mr. Wearne, 
secretary ; and Messrs. Harding and Matthews, visitors. 
Mrs. White was permitted to begin a Day school in the 
tent, under certain conditions. This was the germ of that 
series of Day schools, which, under the complex denomina- 
tional system, for many years prevailed. The Lydiard-street 
Sabbath school is justly esteemed one of the glories of Ballarat 
Methodism, and this record of its start is valuable. Even 
before this, a Wesleyan Sabbath school, numbering from 
twenty-five to thirty children existed, according to another 
witness. Mr. Parry, from Tasmania, was its superintendent, 
and Mrs. Robert Smith (then Miss Carkeet or Cargeeg) was 
its first teacher At the time of the Eureka stockade, Mr. 
Robert Smith was building, what is called in the narrative 
before us, " the first substantial ecclesiastical edifice on 
Ballarat." It stood on the site of the late Wesleyan school, 
at the corner of Lydiard and Dana-street. It was built of 
sandstone from the Black hill, and when, through the 
subsidence of the adjacent ground, the building had to be 
taken down, the stone in the old building, on which had 
been graved the words, "Wesleyan school, 1855," was 
replaced in its old position in the new house, and it may be 
seen, says the narrator, " by the moderns," at least, until 
recently. Meanwhile, the Rev. F. Lewis had visited the 
place from Geelong, and the Melbourne District Meeting of 
1852, resolved to send a Minister " to the Eureka or 
Ballarat diggings," of which the estimated population 
was 7000. The next event is a tea meeting, with Mr. 


B-ippoh in the chair, and Messrs Hill, M'CutchaAj. 
Lowe, Mewton, and Parry for speakers. The sum of £11 
5s. was colleqted for preaching tents for Cornish Town and 
Canadian Gully. Then follow the appointment of Mr. 
Joseph Doane as Sabbath school superintendent, the forma- 
tion "' of the district of Ballarat into a regular Wesley an 
Circuit," and the appointment of the Rev. T. B. Vipont as 
its Minister, who arrived on September 3rd, 1853. The 
first regular meeting of the officers of the Circuit was held 
in the tent at Wesley Hill on September 13th, and thirteen 
were present, including the new names of Messrs. Hodge, 
Crombie, Lilley, etc. The Local Preachers present, severally 
and unanimously declared their adhesion to the grand car- 
dinal doctrines of Christianity, as held by the Wesley an 
Methodist Church, and their determination to continue to 
maintain and preach those doctrines under all circumstances 
and at all times." Changes were made in times and places, 
new preaching stations were to be occupied at Winter's Flat, 
Buninyong, Eureka, and Ballarat township, and new recruits 
were sought for *' our plan" in the persons of Messrs. Smith, 
Currey, Harris, and Eustace. Number of members, eighty ; 
and estimated expenditure, £600 per annum. Monthly 
collection, as well as weekly contributions are urged. It is 
reported that a site for " Church and house" in the town- 
ship of Ballarat has been chosen, and a small committee is 
to canvass for the same, while Messrs. Lilley and Doane are 
appointed the first Circuit stewards, and a collection is 
authorized "in all our Chapels for the purchase of bells." 
The Mr. G. Lilley here mentioned figures most honourably 
in the outset of Methodism in Melbourne and Portland Bay 
as well. He was an auctioneer from Launceston, who had 
large trading connections with Port Phillip. In 1827 this 
name with two others is found in the list of agents 
for the Tonga and Fiji Missions. They were engaged 
as artisans and agriculturalists. Mr. Lilley soon left 
and returned to the colonies, and is believed to be iden- 
.tical. with the Mr. Lilley of this narrative. .From the 


Circuit Minutes which follow it appears that early in 
1854, Mr. Yipont was succeeded by the Rev. Theo. 
Taylor, and a Circuit meeting was held at Cornish Town on 
March 13th, 1854, under his presidency. Difficulties arose 
about the Connexional funds, which were subsequently 
settled by the concession of " two Ministerial collections 
per quarter," and various Committees were nominated for the 
erection of Chapels at Cornish Town, Golden Point, Eureka, 
and the site of Mr. Taylor's tent. The " tent" dispensation, 
which had served its generation, was to pass away, and be 
succeeded by the more substantial order of " slab " or 
" pine" buildings. One tent was sold for £5, another which 
had cost £100, realized £10, while the old tent at Gravel- 
pits, " which in its history of twenty months had cost £500, 
was blown to tatters, and the ruins sold for £6." In 1853, 
the receipts were £102 5s. 5d. per quarter, and the expendi- 
ture, £200 14s. lid., whereof £111 4s. lid. was for horse- 
hire and travelling expenses. No wonder the question arose, 
" Shall we buy and keep a horse for the preachers 1" The 
expansion of the work was rapid, new places appear on the 
plan as Portuguese Flat, Spring Hill, Canadian, Warren- 
heip, Dowling Forest, Leigh, Sebastopol, Cobbler's Gully, 
Creswick Creek, Gravel-pits, Magpie, Clayton's Hill and 
new names are found associated with the work, as Messrs. 
Hoiles, Little, Nankivell, James, Morgan, Gripe, Jeffery, 
Polkinghorne, Huddart, Cooper, and Francis; while among 
the earliest Circuit Stewards are the names of Messrs. Doane, 
Oddie, Raw, Tregaskis, and Benney. At the first Quar- 
terly Meeting, the Rev. T. Taylor's claim for quarterage is 
only £9, although the allowance for " washing " is raised to 
£5, and for "postage" to £3 per quarter. The income, 
however, grew ; a large surplus was handed to the Minister 
every quarter on Mission House account, and it was soon 
proposed to raise the Minister's salary, " as he is on the eve 
of marriage/' to £400 per annum. The receipts were much 
swollen by marriage and funeral fees, which reached in 
October, 1859, as much £213 10s. 2d. per quarter. When 



they dropped to £114 16s. 6d., a debt accrued, the authorities 
grew concerned, a special effort, for which the services of 
the Rev. D. J. Draper were secured, was made^ and then a 
prompt appeal was made to the Contingent Fund for a 
grant, " because of the failure of marriage fees," There are 
points too of spiritual interest and progress. Our rules are 
to be circulated, and our people urged " to observe them as 
far as possil)le," protracted Sunday Class meetings are com- 
plained of, Mr. Benney is to preach a special sermon 
before the Quarterly Meeting, and Ministers are asked to 
preach on entire sanctification. Saturday night and Sunday 
morning prayer meetings were enjoyed, and mention is 
made of two interesting conversions on the Quarterly Fast 
Day. Weekly payments in the Class are urged, together 
with midday simultaneous prayer for each other. Mr. 
Thomas James is engaged to assist Mr. Taylor, and then 
recommended as a candidate for the Ministry. The Quar- 
terly Meetings of those days were large and popular 
gatherings, as many as sixty being sometimes present, whose 
"table mercies" would absorb nearly £10 of the revenue. 
Mention is made of the interesting and "argumentative" 
character of these meetings. Mr. Taylor was enter- 
prising and devoted in a high degree, as well as "a 
wise master-builder," and he laid the foundations of our 
Church broad and strong, The sword was, however, 
too sharp for the scabbard, and the spirit so ardent, that 
it well-nigh consumed the frail tabernacle in which it dwelt. 
BaUarat was his first and almost his last Circuit in the 
colony. He left it the wreck and shadow of his former self, 
and after a few months in the Brighton Circuit soon passed 
away. What the unsparing labours of the Local Brethren 
who opened up many of the places on the plan must have 
been, can never be fully told. But their witness is with 
God, and their record is on high. The Rev. Isaac 
Harding thus characterizes Mr. Taylor's labours in a letter 
to the committee. " I have recently visited Ballarat 
with its 60,000 souls located within sixty miles of the 


centre where the township stands, and where there is one 
street nearly as crowded with people and vehicles as a 
principal sti'eet in London. Our valuable Minister at 
Ballarat, the Rev. Theo. Taylor, has had no ordinary diffi- 
culties, and no easy duties to cope with ; and he has done 
his duties well, having under his charge more souls than all 
the other Protestant denominations together, and Christen- 
dom is indebted to him for having baptized, married, buried, 
and preached the Gospel to all sects and parties whatever:" 
A similar tribute and meed of praise was already due to the 
Revs. J. C. Symons and J. Chapman who had been the first 
accredited and recognized Ministers at Forest Creek and 
Bendigo, and under the auspices of the Methodist Church, 
erected the first place of worship, established the first Tract 
Society, and commenced the first Sunday schools on the 
goldfields. It was no easy thing to find a Minister to suc- 
ceed Mr. Taylor, and to take up and carry on the work 
as he has done. But the appointment of the Rev. Mr. 
Bickford in 1857 was suitable and opportune. He was a true 
<* father in God," a strength and stay to our Church, a 
" suide, philosopher, and friend" to many. His ministry 
was an era of consolidation, and yet of extension and enter- 
prise, for Smythe's, Steiglitz, and other places were soon 
embraced in his charge. It was a season too of revival and 
increase, and under the Ministry of Mr. Bickford and his 
lively and popular colleague, the Rev. Charles Lane, many 
were added to the Lord. Creswick was at this time 
detached from Ballarat, and with Mount Bolton, Belfast, 
One-Mile Hill, and Lake Learmonth constituted a Circuit 
of itself under the care of the Rev. J. W. Crisp, who also had 
the honour of preaching the first sermon at Clunes. Much 
was done also in the establishment of Day schools ; but the 
greatest undertaking of that time was the erection of the 
old Lydiard-street Church, since sold to the School of 
Mines. The only previous building of any account, 
" the stone Schoolhouse, cost £2400, held 500 people, and 
was filled from the first." The foundation-stone of this 


Church was laid by Sir Henry Barkly, For the tea meeting 
which followed, butter had cost 6s. per lb. ; milk, 3s. 6d. per 
quart ; bread, 5s. for a 41b. loaf ; and currants, 2s. 6d. per 
lb. ; and the intellectual fare was, no doubt, equally rare 
and precious. Mr. Tonkin was engaged as hired Local 
Preacher, until the E.ev. William Weston was secured 
as junior Minister. The Rev. J. G. Millard then suc- 
ceeded to the superintendency, and carried on the work 
in the spirit of his predecessor. In his time the organ 
in Lydiard-street Church was erected, and opened by a 
musical " function" of considerable merit, and its anniver- 
sary was celebrated for some years with an imposing 
programme of first class music. This was the foundation 
of what is said to be the best choir in Ballarat, and which 
flourishes, " large and fair " at the present day, under the 
leadership of Mr. Eyres. The Rev. Dr. Waugh, who suc- 
ceeded Mr. Millard, found the elements of social and 
religious life assuming a more settled form, and contributed 
by his luminous teaching and high personal influence to this 
result. He infused life and strength into the Young Men's 
Bible and Improvement class, and did much to develop 
and train those who have since made their mark in Church 
or State, to wit, Messrs. Campbell, O'Donnell, Fitchett, 
Tuckfield, Little, etc. These services were duly acknow- 
ledged in the pi'ofuse valedictory testimonials which were 
a strong fashion of those days. The amount of official 
letter writing devolving upon a Minister at that time, was 
something serious. Dr. Waugh was correspondent for 
more than twenty Day schools, a service to the State none 
the less generous, because gratuitous. A similar record 
might be given of the Ministers who followed, Messrs 
Binks, Watsford, T. and S. Williams, Daniel, Dare, and 
other venerated names. In Mr. Binks' day, the colony was 
divided into Districts, and Ballarat with Geelong, formed 
the joint head of a separate District. In Mr. Watsford 's 
day, the Ballarat Circuit was divided and Barkly-sti'eet 
made the head of the second Circuit. In Mr. Cope's day 


the present new Church was projected and the enter- 
prise prosperously begun. In 1875, the Conference was held 
at Ballarat, under the presidency of the Rev J. C. Symons. 
The political strife and faction which were disquieting the 
country, had a reflex influence on the Church, and some 
wild and revolutionary theories were broached. But the 
healing grace of the Holy Spirit, which was shed on many 
of *^he Conference assemblies, made them scenes of unwonted 
emotion and blessing, and preserved our Zion in peace. The 
Local Preachers' Association has met many times in Bal- 
larat, which may almost be regarded as the metropolis of the 
craft, and where the order has long been represented by 
such worthy names as Russell, Bell, Morgan, M. Hosking, 
Hodge, Ham, James, Letcher, Tregaskis, Polkinghorne, 
and many others. The Lydiard street Sabbath school has 
had a noble history under such chiefs as Messrs. Doane, 
Proctor, Campbell, Wills, Curtis, Coltman, and has proved 
the Alma Mater of various you ng Ministers as Rev. Messrs. 
Persley, Cox, etc. The rise and growth of such Churches 
as Barkly-street, Neill-street, Pleasant-street, Rubicon- 
street, and others, is worth telling, did space permit. 
The last-named may suflice as a sample of the rest. At 
a recent anniversary it was said that " the shell of the 
new building was erected and opened July 7th, 1867, the 
money for tlie same being kindly advanced by the trustees 
of Lydiard-street Church; the pulpit, lamps, Bible and 
Hymn-book being given from the old Church at Pleasant- 
street, The Church was soon found to be too small, and 
within one year an addition equal to the original was 
made. From that time the Church so prospered that 
further additions to the building were necessary. One of 
our Ministers received the whole of his religious training 
in this school, two other Ministers, one Home Missionary, 
eight Local Preachers, and seven State school teachers, 
partially so. The amount of spiritual good done is incalcul- 
able." We have seen how the work branched out in various 
directions around Ballarat. Creswick's Creek was, for atime, 


the best outlying part of the Ballarat Circuit, boasting of a 
"slab" Church, which cost £650, but it and its neighbour, 
Olunes, have long been strong and substantial Circuits^ 
embracing within their borders as genuine and hearty- 
Methodism as can be found. The growth and development 
of our Church in these places is that of " a tree whose seed 
is in itself." The blessing of God, which maketh rich, has 
made that seed to prosper and grow. "We may glorify Him 
in the human instruments which have been used in this work, 
such as Messrs. Jebb, Gardner, Raw, Preston, Reed, Cooper, 
Richardson, etc., together with the faithful Ministers wha 
have from time to time had charge of these Circuits. Ballan, 
in another direction, was supplied for some years by Mr. 
Hampshire, from Geelong, one of our earliest Home Mission- 
aries, and the first to establish Protestant service in this place 
(1858-70), while Steiglitz was first missioned by Mr. 
Bannister, a local brother, who used to gather and conduct 
his Sunday school in the open bush, and afterwards pro- 
cured and adapted for Church purposes, a weather-board 
building which was drawn up from Geelong on a bullock 
dray. Mr. Osborne's home, Emly Park, became also a 
centre of Methodist work and influence, and is connected 
with some precious episodes in the " Life of the late Mr. J. 
Wood, of Geelong.* These places are now embraced in the 
recent and thriving Egerton Circuit. At Melton, 
between Ballarat and Melbourne, Methodism was introduced 
by the Rev. W. L. Blamires in 1862, ably seconded 
by the late Mrs. Westlake (afterwards Mrs. Spargo), Mr. 
J. James, the active and indefatigable Rev. Ebenezer 
Taylor, and such workers as Messrs. Corr, Atkinson, Ferris, 
Mawson, and John Dare. In 1867 the foundation-stone 
of the present Church was laid by the Rev. Dr. Waugh. 
Melton and Toolern have benefitted by the generous help of 
the family of M. J. Browne, Esq., of White Hills station, 
Diggers Rest, and are now comprised in the Sunbury 

* See Memoir by Rev. Thomas Williams. 


Circuit. The Sc.a.rsdale and Linton Circuit began with 
** Brown'.s" and " Smythe's" two rich rushes, found on the 
stations of squatters bearing those names. They were first 
"missioned" or "prospected" from Ballarat during the 
Ministry of the Rev. J. Bickford, and then with a group of 
other places formed into a Circuit with the Rev. Messrs. 
E. Taylor and W. C. Currey for its first Ministers. The 
Circuit has a somewhat unique and interesting history. 
Some of our best Ministers have graduated here. Under 
the devoted labours of the Rev. William Woodall and Mr. 
Matthew Burnett, a large ingathering of souls, and striking 
conversions, equal to any we read of in the olden time, took 
place. Many of these have joined the Church triumphant, 
others are found in the Circuit still, or in various directions 
have been honoured of God in turning many to righteousness. 
Among these may be mentioned Brother B — , first a sailor, 
then a publican, one of a gang, all the rest of whom came 
to a violent end, or had to sufifer for their crimes. His 
conversion was very wonderful, and for many years he has 
been a devoted Home Missionary, in another colony. 
Brother R — , now a very successful Minister of another 
branch of Methodism. Though he had " been among the 
pots," yet his were as " the wings of a dove covered with 
silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." He was meet to 
be set among the princes of our Israel, for as a prince had he 
power with God and prevailed, and his little tent was to him 
and to many the gate of heaven. Who that heard his prayers 
and preaching could ever forget them ! Brother C — , once a 
*' child of the devil, and enemy of all righteousness," now a 
chosen vessel, who takes a sweet savour of Christ with him 
wherever he goes, one of the most faithful, prayerful and 
useful of men who is always about his Master's business. 
The first preaching place was a tent at " Browns," shifted 
three diflferent times as the diggings changed, then super- 
seded by a weather-board School-Church, which was after- 
wards burnt down, then rebuilt, and ultimately sold 
and transported to do duty in another part. After this 


followed tent preaching at Gemini, Black Hill, Golden 
Lake, etc. The tide of golden prosperity was soon at its 
flood, and Churches, fast and free, almost heedless of cost, 
or debt, were erected, but a reverse and decline set in, and 
the debts became grievous and intolerable. Thus one 
soweth and another reapeth. For some years the Circuit 
took two Ministers, now with the utmost difficulty it main- 
tains one. In the days of Revs. E. S. Bickford and J. B. 
Smith, almost " heroic" measures were adopted, and by 
the issue of debentures, bazaar, and undaunted importunity, 
the parsonage debt was paid and the Circuit saved from 
utter collapse. The Loan Fund had " long patience," and 
as it was, many Churches have been closed, sold, or removed, 
to wit those of Browns, Brownsvale, Black hill, Gemini, Pig- 
goreet, Rokewood (not even the name it bore, the Jubilee 
Church, could save it), and Skipton, the last, strange to say 
sold to the Roman Catholic Church. Still the Circuit is 
fondly regarded by many as their spiritual birthplace and 
home, and Italians, Monkey Gully, and Happy Valley 
are potent names to charm with. Among the early friends 
and workers were Messrs. Raddenberry, Benney, S. Matthews, 
Peart, Bird, Fox, Felstead, M'Murdie, Johnson, Jennings, 
Dunstan, etc. 



Castlemaine Circuit. — This is a mining centre, and 
dates as one of the earliest goldfields Circuits. Gold 
changed the quiet vale of Forest Creek into a honey- 
combed hive of mining industry. The pastures of the 
roaming sheep and the bounding kangaroo were transformed 
first into the encampment of the nomad diggers, then into 
the towns and settlements of busy miners. The story 
anent Pactolus' stream, whose sands were gold, Avas realized 


in modern times in this quiet little stream, and in the other 
and adjacent tributaries of the Loddon river. The former 
beds, and the present ones, of these creeks gave forth the 
rich treasures that had been buried through the centuries. 
We may say, that the Divine wisdom, forecasting the events 
of the after-time, had laid up these coffers, and rivulets of 
gold, so as thereafter to induce human settlement, and the 
spread of population over the land. Yet it was the timely 
enterprise of a few prospectors, and the auri fames which 
seized the breasts of the many-tongued peoples of several 
continents, that brought together the motley crowd which 
in the months of August and September, 1851, began the 
Mount Alexander diggings. Vultures do not scent the 
carcase more keenly, bees do not cluster around honey more 
thickly, than did human crowds, from far and near, search 
out and settle in quest of gold. Here it was at their feet. 
In shallow surface-diggings, ounces, yea, pounds weight 
of the precious treasure could be obtained by the per- 
severing exertions of a few days or weeks. With the 
likelihood of this swift way to competency or wealth before 
them, almost the whole manhood of the colonies swarmed 
upon the goldfields, to be followed by shoals of the active, 
stalwart sons of Europe and America. Who can tell what 
fortunes were gained, and what were squandered ? It took 
little time to extract one, and as little to spend it. Human 
life was put into feverish activity ; and'human foibles and 
faults were immensely intensified and exaggerated. The scum 
of the earth and the choicest were gathered here. The best 
and worst were brought into contact, and somewhat com- 
mingled. With some men, as lightly come, so freely wasted, 
was the gold in riotous living, drinking, or extravagances. 
Some were lightened of their treasui'e by midnight 
marauders, or by bushrangers in the Black Forest, a dense 
piece of "bush" half-way between Mount Alexander and 
Melbourne. Others proceeded to new goldfields, when cost of 
travel and living, with " shicer holes" in their speculative 
digging, made away with a good portion of their first prizes 


The small minority saved thriftily, and used wisely their 
portion of the precious finds. Meanwhile, society was in a 
state of flux. It was seething with excitement and disturb- 
ance of the old order and ways. It was in a condition 
little favourable to morals and religion. It needed the care 
of the Evangelist or Minister, and the leaven of the godly, 
but presented no very promising field for their influence 
and work. What was done for these diggers by Methodist 
agency, we now narrate. 

We presume that the Rev. William Butters paid a visit 
to this goldfield in the course of the year, 1851. We know 
that he did so again in February, 1852. Visits were made 
by Bishop Perry of the Anglican Church, and other 
Ministers. Mr. Watchhorn, of Prahran, heard Rev. Samuel 
Waterhouse preach in December, 1851, his pulpit being a 
wheelbarrow. A prayer meeting followed the service, at 
which the people knelt on the grass. Mr. Hill (S.A.), 
Mr. Martin, Mr. Brian Abbey were Local Preachers, who 
with others, took their part at this date in open-air preach- 
ing. Mr. Martin led a Society Class in a shepherd's hut. 
A minute of the Melbourne Quarterly Meeting of December 
31st, 1851, estimated that 20,000 persons were at that time 
on the goldfields, and 4000 adherents of the Wesleyan 
Church. That meeting deemed it advisable to send a 
Minister to Mount Alexander, and suggested that the Rev. 
Mr. Harcourt should be sent. Mr. Harcourt paid a visit 
or two accordingly ; but the paucity of Ministers in Mel- 
bourne, the great work there to be done, and the removal of 
one Minister at this juncture from the colony, prevented his 
settlement on the goldfield. Meanwhile, one agency, largely 
suited to such a time of emergency, had occupied the 
ground. Supplying Avhat was lacking in others, and supple- 
menting the occasional services of Ministers, that most 
valuable body of men, the Local Preachers, gathered from 
Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and other parts, had 
instituted Sabbath services, and maintained them with 
more or less of regularity. They stood up in the rough 


garb of diggers, under the shade of a gum-tree, or upon a 
fallen log, and with lusty song, gathering a number of 
people around, preached to them the Gospel of Christ. 
Brave hearts, desirous to stem the tide of ungodliness, 
tender spirits yearning over the souls of their redeemed 
fellow-men, were alive to the importance of Gospel preach- 
ing and religious ordinances. A "jealous, just concern" 
for the honour and worship of God fired the breast of these 
men, and moved them to lift up the standard of the Cross, 
in the hope to succour the religious life of disciples, threat 
ened by so many temptations, and to rescue others from 
the moral snares and perils by which they were surrounded. 
In few places and times besides, had there been more fear- 
ful illustrations of the words of Scripture : — " They that 
will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many 
foolish and hui'tful lusts, which drown men in destruction 
and perdition." These true-hearted men, referred to above, 
sought to lead their fellows to the waters of life, so that 
the feverish thirst for gold might be abated, or to remind 
them of their relationship to God, the cross, and eternity, 
so that amid the engrossing things of earth, some right care 
might be given to the things of heaven. The public of that 
time and this day owes a great debt to these devoted men. 
These events led up to the appointment of a resident 
Minister which, however, did not take place before March, 
1852. The Rev, J. C. Symons was the first Minister of the 
Gospel settled upon this goldfield. His ministry began 
there on the first Sunday in March, and his first services 
were held in the neighborhood of Pennyweight Flat and 
Old Post Office Hill (now Chewton). In the middle of the 
month Mr. Symons was joined by Mr. Joshua Chapman, a 
probationer for the Ministry. He arrived at Forest Creek 
on the 19th, and on the 22nd preached his first sermon, 
taking for his text that trumpet note of alarm contained in 
Romans, chapter i., verse 18. The service was held in the 
open-air, near to the then burial-ground ; the weather was 
showery, but the bulk of the congregation remained to the 


close. Prayer meetings were also at that tiiue held in the 
open-air in the evening. A lantern would be placed on the 
ground and the people stand in a circle around whilst the 
meeting lasted. Mr. Langsford, of South Australia, is 
mentioned as zealous in turn with the Ministers, in con- 
ducting such meetings. Probably, that company of 
praying people would remember concerniug their Divine 
Master, that — 

' ' Cold dews and midnight air, 

Witnessed the fervour of his prayer," 

and in their spirit hold fellowship with Him, and in their 
act, in an humble measure, copy Him. Class meetings also 
were held ; but, in some respects, in an extemporized 
manner and time. The tickets of membership have been 
written on the bottom of a rusty frying-pan, as the only 
flat surface available, save the ground. Meetings were 
held in an empty tent, used as a kind of store-room, and 
situate at or near Old Post Office Hill. A tin dish or an 
old chemist's mortar was used as a Baptismal font, on the 
rare occasion when the rite of baptism was administered. 
The accommodation for the Ministers was of the rough and 
ready kind, incident to those early days. They put up 
their first tent near Pennyweight Flat ; furnished it 
with rude stretchers, constructed by themselves, and in the 
provision of other articles of necessity, attended more to 
the useful than to the ornamental. The cooking was done 
by themselves ; their diet was chiefly of mutton and 
damper ; they were their own hewers of wood and 
drawers of water ; and yet wei'e better ofi" than other worthy 
followers of their Lord, " who had no certain dwelling-place," 
some of whom also "wandered about in sheepskins and goat- 
skins; being destitute, afflicted, and tormented." Heb. xi , 
verse 37. Yet the successors of these pioneers on the gold- 
fields, now so snug and comfortable, may do honour to those 
worthy men who had the discomforts and inconveni- 
ences of this primitive life. It must have been trying 
to the health, as we glean from Mr. Symons' own 


report that he was, by a severe illness, laid aside from work 
for about a month. This was in April. The bulk of ser- 
vice, both religious and secular, must then have fallen to the 
junior Minister. They could not then have taken turn about 
in fetching water and cooking damper, and circumstances 
made it good for the younger that he should bear the yoke 
in his youth. It was apostolic or Pauline, that " these 
hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them 
that were with me." The ordinary Church meetings too 
must be kept up by him at Forest Creek, whilst in the 
follo-sving month of May, he made his first flying visit to the 
Bendigo goldfield, and preached there. Yet, with returnino' 
health, Mr. Symons was able, as well as willing, to put his 
shoulder to the work. Manual labour was required in 
many ways. With the toil of his own hands, he put up the 
first structui'e used for public worship at Wesley Hill, and 
built of slabs, with bark and canvas roof. We presume that 
he was assisted by his colleague, and by some slight and 
occasional help of Church adherents. The Ministers stuck 
manfully by their work, despite inducements to leave it, 
which would have been strong in their influence if a money 
value had been their standard of judgment or duty. For 
diggers around them were in a short time reaKzing fabulous 
amounts, and pro\'isions were almost at famine prices. At 
secular work a high rate of wages or returns could be 
readily gained, whilst their remuneration was a mere 
pittance. One member of the Church ofiered Mr. Chapman 
the high wage of £1 per hour, to rock the cradle (the 
digger's cradle.) But this was declined in order to attend 
to Ms own proper work, even though the stipend was at 
the first at the rate of ,£36 per annum for the younger man, 
though afterwards increased. Prices were so high that 
six ounces of gold were paid for a bag of flour (2001b.), and 
4s. per week must be paid for washing linen, if done by 
other hands than his own. No mercenary consideration 
swayed them. They had little temptation to continue in 
the Ministry for a morsel of bread. We appreciate their 


self-denying adherence to their proper vocation and work. 
We wonder whether a stray nugget came into their hands, 
as 'tis said came into the hands of the Rev. Robert Young, 
gifts from his admirers and friends. His fathers in the 
Ministiy exhorted Mr. Chapman to give attendance to 
reading, but through dearness of cartage, they kept his 
books for a long while in Melbourne. His superintendent 
used playfully to assert that Mr. Chapman studied when 
asleep. The heat, din, and excitement were not favourable 
to study ; that was a work for the quieter and more settled 
time, which duly arrived. At a somewhat later period, the 
horse was stabled under the same roof with the bedroom of 
the Minister — a canvas partition dividing the sleeping 
place of each — which led one night to Mr. Chapman's 
waking up by feeling a tug at his shirt, the horse's nose 
having pushed through the dividing canvas, while with 
his mouth he was tasting the quality of the blue shirt 
of his master. Oats were dear in those days. 'Twas said 
that blue shirts supplied food for horses and milk for dairy- 
men ; that the milk sold by the latter was so blue, because the 
cows fed on discarded diggers' shirts. 

As the population was uncertain and migratory, the 
" preachers' plans " were issued weekly, and afterwards 
from month to month. This is a copy of the first jveekly 
plan, which is in the handwriting of Mr. Chapman : — 
Sunday, May 2nd, 1852. 

Adelaide Gully. — Morning, Chapman. 

Commissioner's (Camp?). — Afternoon, Do., half-past 2. 

Mission Tent. — Langsford or Grassley. 

Old Post Office. — Hill or Pearce. 

Adelaide Gully. — Afternoon, Orchard or "Williamson. 

Shepherd's Hut. — Gurr, Yandell, Green, Broad. 

Commissioner's. — Morning, 11 a.m., Boundy. 

Barker's Creek. — Bone or Broadbent. 

Campbell's Creek. — Collins. 
Langsford and Bone have since done yeoman's service in 
our Church work in South Australia. Mr. Yandell died 


recently in Castlemaine, after much energetic labour spent in 
the Master's cause. Mr. Collins was an effective speaker, 
had been in the movement of the Reformers, so called, 
in England, and was afterwards a Minister of the Free 
Church of England, Ballarat. 

Mr. Symons in his report, dated July 10th, 1852, makes 
mention " of the prompt and valuable assistance rendered by 
the Local Preachers' . . . who have been constantly ready 
to do all in their power to maintain religious services, and 
to strengthen their Ministers." The same report adds : — 
" The congregations generally have been very gratifying, 
both as respects numbers and attention. I have frequently 
addressed from four to five hundred persons, who have 
listened with the most devout attention to the Word of 
Life. It must not, however, from this statement be sup- 
posed that anything like the number of persons attend 
Divine service who might and who ought to do. In many 
parts of the goldfields the population is enormous, and 
certainly a very small proportion attend the preaching of 
God's word." 

So the infant Church grew in strength, until a first home 
and centre was provided for it in the rough slab Church, 
built at Wesley Hill. That building held about fifty 
persons. It was opened on Sunday, July 4th, 1852, by 
preaching services in the morning and evening, attended 
by a crowd of hearers, and by a Lovefeast and Sacramental 
service in the afternoon, at which seventy members were 
present. These had renewed to them the religious fervour 
and blessing which had been granted to them in other and 
more beautiful houses of prayer in former times, so that all 
felt it good to be there. The amount of £17 collected 
which, with the previous subscriptions, met the cost of the 
building. The first Sunday school was started on July 
11th, and there were seventeen in attendance in the morn- 
ing, and twenty in the afternoon. Mr. Vickery, who was 
engaged in buying gold for Mr. Alexander MacArthur, 
of Sydney, was the first superintendent. This was at 


Wesley Hill, which was the centre of Methodist operation for 
a long time. 

In his report of July 10th Mr. Symons further states 
that one gratifying case of conversion had come to his 
knowledge, that the expenses of the Mission had been 
nearly met by the allowance from the Government and by 
£93 collected on the spot, and that 70,000 persons were 
estimated to be on the goldfields, which by this time had 
embraced Barker's Creek, Campbell's Creek, and Fryer's 
Creek in this neighbourhood. We presume, however, that in 
this estimate of numbers he includes the Ballarat, Bendigo, 
and other goldfields, besides those of :\Iount Alexander. 

The District Meeting held in Melbourne, September 

22nd, was attended by Messrs. Symons and Chapman, who 

reported on the state of the Church and Christian work on 

this o-oldtield. 150 was the return of membership on the 

goldfields. Mr. Symons was appointed to CoUingwood, and 

Messrs. Currey and Chapman were the appointments for 

Mount Alexander. One source of information, however, 

states that Mr. Currey came to Forest Creek about the 

middle of August. He continued in charge of the Circuit, 

widening its area, planting the Church in Castlemaine, and 

sti-etching out operations to the Fryer's Creek Districts, 

until the arrival of the Rev. W. P. Wells in 1854. No 

more suitable person than Mr. Wells could have been sent 

to this Circuit in this formative period of its history. He 

was exact, orderly, methodical ; active and energetic ; and 

attended to matters, great and small, that had connection 

with the establishment and progress of the work. His 

pulpit efforts, too, were of an instructive and painstaking 

character. His was beaten oil that he carried into the 

sanctuary by which the flame of the Di\ane life in many 

hearts was constantly fed. He had to endure the hardships 

and fatigue of pioneer work, but the community around him 

was gradually adopting more durable habitations, and more 

settled habits of life. After the first excitement was over 

the comforts and methods of civilization to wliich most 


beforetime had been accustomed were reasserting themselves 
or regained. The style of working to secure the gold 
changed also froui the cradle to the puddling period, and 
passed into the stamping one. Rocking, rounding, pounding, 
marked the several stages and epochs of gold digging and 
mining. The cradle, the first primitive implement for 
separating the gold from the wash dirt, was easily worked, 
readily shifted, and favoured migration from one goldfield to 
another ; but the puddling-machine which meant more outlay 
of time, labour, and means to construct and use, was 
employed mostly to put through the process of washing 
again the dirt which had been imperfectly manipulated 
before, and could, when once erected, furnish men employ- 
ment for months or years ; whilst, when the matrix of the 
gold deposits was found in the quartz reef, that soon 
necessitated the erection of stamping batteries, to which 
European miners had been accustomed in the Northern 
Hemisphere. That gave longer work, induced settlement 
of a permanent kind, and brought the miner to cluster his 
family around him, build a substantial house, form his 
acreage of garden, and make one home of the many that 
constituted the " diggings" township or hamlet. Quartz 
mining became in the after years the permanent form of 
the gold industry in these Northern golclfields of Victoria. 

Mr. Wells witnessed largely this transition at Forest, 
Fryer's, Campbell's, and Barker's Creeks, and other places 
embraced in his wide Circuit. For that Circuit spread out 
mostly to the west and south, to distances of twelve, 
twenty, and even fifty miles, as we narrate when taking up 
the story of the Maldon, Maryborough, Talbot, and Amherst, 
and Avoca Circuits. New rushes had occurred in these 
directions, and the Evangelist must look after the migratory 
population. So encouragement was given to volunteer 
labourers pioneering the Gospel amongst these human 
swarms, correspondence was kept up with official and other 
Laymen, occasional visits were made to distant places, and 
Churches planted in these new fields. 



Meanwhile, Castlemaine had been surveyed as a central 
township. It Avas the site for the Government offices and 
authorities, and was found most suitable for a prosperous 
town. To that place Mr. Currey had turned his attention, 
securing the valuable area on which our Church premises 
are built. He pitched his tent there, which long remained 
as a relic of former times. But Avhen Mr. Wells came, 
Castlemaine was fixed, both as the residence for the Minister 
and as the head of the Circuit. Yet, for a considerable 
time, Methodism remained puny and dwarfish in its repre- 
sentation in this town. Other Churches had a local 
habitation, and buildings of good size, and as Ministers con- 
stantly occupied their pulpits, those circumstances competed 
more prosperously for public support, than did a small 
Church at which the Circuit Minister could only occasionally 
attend. The town grew in size and, in the early mining and 
coaching days, was the centre and pivot of a large district 
in the middle of the colony ; but Methodism did not keep 
pace with the growth of the place. When the Rev. Mr. 
Draper paid it a visit in August, 1855, he readily saw that 
to give our Church a fair stand, and open a sure prospect of 
success, a better building was essential than the first slab 
structure that had been raised. Preaching at Castlemaine 
in the evening of Sunday, August 26th, Mr. Draper 
recorded in his diary these terse but significant comments : 
— " Congregation not so good as was expected. Poor 
•chapel ; sacrament after ; about twenty -five communicants. 
The cause here must wither if better accommodation be not 
provided." The two Ministers consulted together about a 
new Church, and plans were prepared for a building to cost 
about £1200, which, after an immense amount of trouble 
in contriving the ways and means was subsequently erected 
(in stone), and forms a portion of the present Barkers- 
street Church. Mr. Draper preached also at Wesley Hill 
Church, but stormy weather came on, which prevented his 
intended journey farther on to Chewton(01d Post Office Hill). 
The rough weather continued through Friday and Saturday, 


SO Mr. Draper Avrote on Saturday 2oth: — "A wet and stormy 
night. Much disturbed in my tent. Canvas walls and 
roof not suited to my ideas of comfort. Great storm in the 
afternoon." He had, however, pleasant social intercourse 
with Mr. John Boots, who had been one of the first Metho- 
dists in South Australia, as they conversed together about 
old times and friends. John Boots was a man of sterling 
worth and of deserved renown. Tall, upright, with soldier- 
like bearing, he was staunch and true, firm as a granite 
rock in the cause of the great Master. He had given himself 
to self-improvement, and was a creditable Greek scholar. 
His sermons were acceptable, and he remained a pillar of 
the Church here and at Maldon to the end of his days. 
Mr. Draper visited Fryer's Creek, then in its prime as 
a goldfield. Four places were occupied as Churches on 
the Creek, two being only tents and other two of weather- 
board ; those at Spring Gully, Fryer's Town, and Vaughan, 
were afterwards replaced by more substantial structures, 
and at Chapel Hill, in 1856, a new Church was built of 
stone. The names of the places nigh to Chapel Hill were 
indicative of the character of the first people and the rowdy 
scenes that had been enacted on the outbreak of the rush. 
One was Chok 'em Flat, another Murderer's Flat, another 
Deadman's Flat, within the radius of a mile. The names 
given by diggers were generally more graphic than eupho- 
nious. These places had a queer history. Gold had been 
found in large quantities, but wholesale robberies and not 
infrequent murders had been committed. It is related that 
a notorious desperado, with his gang, did, in broad daylight, 
or at dusk, descend the holes where diggers were at work, 
and stick them up, robbing them of their gold. Their 
prowling and marauding at night, plundering tents, and 
maltreating or shooting men, were terrible. The ci%'ic authori- 
ties could do but little to protect life and property amid the 
gambling and the orgies that lucky but low-minded men 
carried on. Other men, it is true, went down the holes or 
shafts; University graduates, professional men, doctors, and 


lawyers descended them by the ladders, or in the buckets, 
and used pick, shovel, and other implements, showing a new 
version of High Life below stairs. At nightfall the bivouac 
of tents had lights within them, shining dimly through the 
canvas like an array of Chinese lanterns, and had tires nigh 
to them, blazing away something like in the "black country" 
in England. Dogs were howling and barking. Firearms 
were discharged by the honest ones to indicate defence and 
defiance ; but by the dishonest too, as preparation for, or 
performance of \aolent misdeeds. Yet either by the clutches 
of the law, or by other means, tlie Creek was gradually 
cleared of most of these ruffians and lawless men. A 
number of men had from the first been there, who were on the 
side of right, order, honesty, and religion. These after a 
while acquired the ascendancy, and when the writer came 
there in 1858, except for sly grog shops, it was an orderly 
community that would compare well with most in the land. 
Here and tliere, the writer met with queer characters. 
One asserted that religious people had no business there, 
delving after the filthy lucre, and he maintained that the 
rough were always the lucky ones, which held true only in 
part. Another would on most Sunday mornings fire off his 
revolver, just as the people were collecting for Church, and 
despite remonstrance, would, outside his hut, clean his 
pistol or do other work. One Sunday morning the revolver 
exploded and beat in a portion of his skull, and he had to 
be carried to his bed. "When he was somewhat recovered, 
a lady said to him, " All ! my man, the Lord had to hit you 
pretty hard to bring you to your senses." The man was 
sobered in mind by this accident, for he replied, " You are 
right, so He had." He indulged in no more bravado to 
show his disregard of the Sabbath, and to annoy worshippers 
of the Lord, and became a comparatively steady man. A 
digger, a member of the Church, who had no wife to look 
after him, came to Church one Sabbath, with one side of 
his face duly shaved, and the other side unshaved, causing 
intense merriment to the juveniles in the congregation. An 


elder, who ventured to draw the brother's attention to the 
fact, received the reply from him, " Oh ! I am so absent- 
minded!" The comedy and tragedy of life were being 
enacted in rough and ready fashion in those days. 

By this time, the Circuit had extended to Tarren- 
gower (Maldon), and was become so important and extensive 
that an additional Minister was appointed by the Conference 
of 1856. The Rev. John Mewton became the colleague of 
Mr. Wells, and was resident for two years at Fryer's Creek. 
He was indefatigable in his labours, and under the conjoint 
administrations of the two Ministers, the Circuit made 
steady progress. The number of members repoi'ted at the 
Conference of 1856, was 304 (inclusive of Avoca), and at 
that of 1858 (Avoca excluded), 335. In 1856, 781 children 
were in the schools. 

The cause of education had been well looked after, so 
that in almost every place where we had a good building as 
a Church, we had opened Week day and Sabbath schools. 
Day schools, under Wesleyan auspices, and in connection 
with the Denominational Board, were started at Castle- 
maine, Wesley Hill, Chewton, Yaughan, Spring Gully, and 
other places, and the Superintendent gave much valuable 
time and care to their oversight and to promote their 
efficiency. They educated a good proportion of the rising 
youth of the District. The Sabbath school work was taken 
up with zest and intelligence by many willing workers, and 
the foundations of the flourishing schools of the present time 
were then laid. No religious body did more for the secular 
and religious instruction of the young than Methodism in 
all parts of the goldfields. 

Mr. Wells' successor in the superintendency was the Rev. 
Thomas Raston, who was as diligent in this, as he had 
been in his former Circuit. He was at times subject 
to mental depression, and would occasionally take the 
gloomy view ; but the clouds soon passed away. Usually 
he worked away with a pace like to that at which he 
walked, and that is saying not a little. Though low in 


stature and small in body, he had a large stride, and a swift 
gait, so that his junior colleagues, who were tall men them- 
selves, had to put their best foot forward, in order to keep 
up with him. His sermons were instructive and impressive, 
given with a loud voice and somewhat deliberate manner. 
His bodily presence was not imposing and majestic, so that 
people who at first measured him by his stature and 
appearance, were pleasingly surprised when they had heard 
one sermon from him. They had not anticipated that so 
much sound, and sense too, could come from so small a man. 
" And still the wonder grew, 
That one small head should carry all he knew." 

The retort of James Jeffrey, when a huge burly speaker 
at a meeting in Maldon, disparaged Mr. Raston because of 
his small stature, was a smart and efiective one. Said the 
first speaker, " Why one could almost put your little 
superintendent in his pocket." Jeffrey, who followed, 
said, " Mr. Chairman, the former speaker said he could 
almost put Mr. Raston into his pocket. One thing I am 
sure of — if he got our little superintendent in there, he 
would have a great deal more brains in his pocket than ever 
he had in his head." It was like an electric shock; there was 
a moment's dead silence, then a burst of deafening applause. 
Mr. Raston's life had been full of incident in the time of his 
Missionary career. He had served a term amidst the 
deadly iniiuences of the climate of Sierra Leone, Western 
Africa, called because of these, the White Man's Grave. 
On one of his voyages thither, he was wrecked on the coast 
of Ireland, and we have heard him tell with great glee, that 
as he had lost everything in the wreck, save some old 
clothing in which he stood upright, his appearance was any- 
thing but respectable and prepossessing. Naturally, he 
made his way to the nearest Wesleyan Minister and told 
his tale of shipwreck, and appealed for house harbour, or a 
loan of money for a time. But he was eyed with suspicion, 
and catechised and cross-examined as though by an opposing 
barrister when he was in the witness-box. He saw the 


Minister take clown from the bookshelf the Minutes of 
Conference to test his story by the entries in the Minutes. 
He began to get a little testy himself, and tried to bewilder 
his questioner a little ; but presently, as the story became 
clear to the Minister, and was in agreement with the records 
of the Minutes, and the news in the public paper, there was 
a warmth of greeting and entertainment, so characteristic 
of Irish hospitality. He had again been wrecked ; this time 
on his voyage to Australia, and on the coast of Brazil. Amid 
his perils by flood and field, he had lost two wives, not 
together, but in succession, yet in his third he was more 
fortunate, for she stuck to him through long years of 
married life. He had for his colleague the Rev. John 
Mewton, who was also an immense walker and diligent 
worker. His voice was loud and monotonous in his then 
pulpit efforts, so that he was more effective in open-air 
services than at those in the small Churches. Yet some of 
his sermons, like the one on " Escape for thy life," were like 
gunpowder blasts to awaken careless sinners. Maldon at 
this time was worked as a distinct Circuit, the Rev. H. 
Chester being the first Minister resident there. Mr. Raston's 
colleague for the year 18-58 was the Rev. W. L. Blamires, 
then in his first year in the Ministry. He has remem- 
brance of first services (on his entry into Circuit work 
here in April 18.58) which were to him of a somewhat 
novel, and not inspiring, character. He preached at 
the Sunday school anniversary at Spring Gully. He 
walked with Messrs. Yandell and Glenny over the ranges 
through Eureka to Spring Gully. At the morning 
session were about twelve adults and forty or fifty children. 
Some of the children recited during the service. One 
piece was a dialogue between a drunkard and a publican ; 
another, lines attributed to Alexander Selkirk, commencing, 
" I am Monarch of all I survey." This selection of pieces, 
moral in their tone, but decidedly secular, the smallness of 
the congregation, despite his first appearance amongst them, 
and the coldness of the whole service, was like a wet 


blanket on any ardour he possessed. Afternoon service 
came, when the Church was filled with a congregation, 
composed largely of adults, and probably 200 were present. 
The service was conducted by an attractive Local Preacher, 
Mr. E. B. Burns, who next year entered the Ministry ; and 
such a contrast between morning and afternoon attendance, 
was an enigma to the young Minister that he could not 
solve, the more especially as he soon gleaned that the 
incorrect intelligence had been circulated (for unreliable 
news spread before the days of telegrams) that he was a 
Cornishman. Evening came, and service was conducted 
again by Mr. Blamires, when the Church was " full inside 
and out," as an Irishman might say. Numbers were outside 
that could not obtain admittance. The explanation was 
that the diggers loved hot dinners on Sundays above 
all days ; the wives and daughters stayed at home to 
cook, and the men then in numerical preponderance, looked 
on, helped as might be, cleaned up around, but did not 
clean themselves, so as to be ready for Church until the hot 
dinner had been well despatched. After that they were 
ready in droves for any attractive service, where there was 
rousing preaching, lively singing, or children reciting. 
Times and manners changed. 

The men whose names were then (1857-60) on the 
Castlemaine Circuit plan, included several who have become 
of note in the Methodist and Southern world. Some 
went subsequently to the South Seas. Mr. Langham went 
in 1858 to Fiji, and his long continued labours have been 
invaluable in that Mission field. Mr. Shirley W. Baker 
went to Tonga as a Missionary, and has since become noted 
as the Premier, and it is said, the virtual ruler of that fair 
island kingdom. Mr. Wilkinson lived on the Parsonage 
land at Castlemaine, and was willing, but somewhat feeble, 
as a Local Preacher. Since that time he has been heard of 
as secretary to some native chieftain in Fiji, as Planter, 
and as Commissioner for Native Affairs. Mr. E B. 
Burns, then living at Chewton, was next year taken 


into the Ministry. He had popular gifts, and spent 
several years of useful labour in Victoria and South Aus- 
tralia. Rev. Richard Osborne Cook, who has had Circuits 
in Tasmania and Victoria, was a Local Preacher, earnest 
and laborious. He entered the Ministry in 1859; was 
rendered useful in his first Circuits in the Southern island, 
and has fulfilled acceptably his terms of service in Circuits 
in this colony. Mr. Annear was at that time placed on the 
plan, and from the first showed a few eccentricities of 
manner, conjoined with force and fluency of speaking, 
which have made his pulpit efforts much prized by many 
congregations. If he has not shone in administrative ability, 
he has done so in sensible, vigorous, sometimes quaint, 
speaking power. He will be recognized by many as the 
*'Paul" whose contributions to our periodical literature 
have been so uniformly excellent and readable. At Spring 
Gully were then in the Sunday school the two brothers, 
David and "William Lindsay, since very useful Ministers in 
Victoria and Fiji. At Castlemaine, the Rev. James 
Graham was then commencing to preach, so that Castle- 
maine Circuit at this period was someAvhat rich in men of 
competent ability for the preaching work, and was a school 
for rising young prophets, who afterwards were effective in 
other parts. Besides, good men and true were found at 
most of the preaching places standing by the cause as 
Leaders, Stewards, and Local Preachers. Yandell, Adams, 
and Robinson at Castlemaine, were active men ; although, 
for various reasons, they afterwards left the ranks. 
Clowes, Cleave, and Crow were the names of prominent 
Wesleyans of that day; Barkla, Andrew, Stribley, Ben- 
netts (T. and P.), Collins (a devoted man), Pearce, Roden, 
and Rowley, were very valuable at Campbell's Creek. 
Here was the congregation as to strength of numbers, and 
fervour of piety, standing first in the Circuit. Several 
interesting Revivals occurred there, winter after winter, 
so that the membership was greatly augmented. One, later 
on, in Mr. Dubourg's pastorate, was very notable for its 


po-wer and permanence. Chewton had Ebbott, Russell, 
Ellis (afterwards at Eldorado, Ovens District), and Baker 
(since a Home Missionary and rendered very useful in the 
Northern plains), and others at its head. The Archbolds. 
were young men in the school. Wesley Hill had Bell, 
Boundy, John Dare, Jenkin, and others. On Fryer's Creek 
■were — at Spring Gully — Dawe. Hutchings, Gill, Tregellas, 
afterwards Hicks, Angwin. and Wilkinson. Fryer's Town 
■was very weak. Redhouse, Nettleship, Peake, and White 
were the principal supporters there. At Chapel HOI were 
T. Williams, Ebbott, Attenborough, M'Xeilance, Smith (a 
good Local Preacher), as leading men, and Dr. Mercer's 
family were warm supporters. Here was the first stone 
Church on the Creek, and for a time, the more numerous. 
Society, but subsequently it dwindled to a small one, 
as removals took place and the diggings were worked 
out. Curious recollections linger around the spot, some 
about a brother who often led the singing, but who could 
not read. But whilst he sang he had his eyes fixed on the 
Hymn book, probably the most intent on reading in appear- 
ance of the whole congregation ; and another brother, who 
had a partiality for big words and expressed them in strange 
connections and confused order. He has been heard to 
beseech God to save those souls *' that would run paralysed 
through eternity" (parallel with eternity). It was there 
good father Russell, of Chewton, a coloured man, praying 
for the Minister about to leave and for the members of his 
family, asked that they might " turn many to righteousness," 
and continue to " shine as the stars for ever and ever." 
Russell was a loveable man, good, genial, always in a happy 
mood, ready for work at any moment, and was of the fii-st 
band of Local Preachers to unfurl the King's banner on 
this goldfield, and that stood in his lot as a faithful Metho- 
dist Local Preacher to the end of his days. At Taughan, 
situate at the junction of Fryer's Creek with the Loddon 
river, lived Mr. Joshua Chapman, formerly Minister, then 
schoolmaster, but still an untiring preacher, Williams, 


Tenby, Ratcliff, upright as a poplar, the symbol of integrity 
and method, indefatigable in his work, and others of lesser 
note. The congregation was fervid and noisy when a good 
season of devotion came, and they felt at liberi:y. The 
writer has grateful recollection of revival services, when 
Hocking, who has been since a faithful Methodist at Long 
.Gully, and several others were brought to God. 

Other conversions took place during these years, of men 
who have been earnest and prominent in the Methodist 
cause. Hines at Fryer's Town, Thimbleby at Castlemaine, 
Jonathan Best at Campbell's Creek, and since resident in 
Tasmania, John and Philip Ebbott, afterwards working in 
the Sandhurst Circuit, and Etchells, son of a Wesleyan 
Minister, and active as a Local Preacher. At the lower 
part of CampbeD's Creek was a united and earnest 
society, worsbipping in a small weather-board Church at 
Donkey Gully. Mr. TTaterworth wels its Leader, who was 
a pioneer in these parts from the year 1852, and who 
remains to this day at Guildford, near by, almost a 
patriarch of the Church. He has l>een very reliable and 
staunch as a servant of Christ and His cause. Branching 
out from the societies at Vaughan and Donkey Gully, was 
the cause at Strathloddon, begun first with open-air preach- 
ing, then sheltering the worshippers in a neat structure of 
wood, but the cause has since become defunct. A small 
population exists there at this present time. So with Guild- 
ford, where for a time the work flourished, and a neat Church 
was put up, but which has since been sold. But Jacob 
Odgers, a worker in these Churches, and Leader of Classes, 
deserves honourable mention here. Another branch was at 
Tarilta : that was a lively though small society for a while, 
A weather-board Church was put up and opened by Mr. 
Blamii-es. with the assistance of local friends, and two 
Classes were formed, but this Church also was given up at 
a later time, because of the removal of population. Yet 
this place yielded one gem to the Methodist Church. 
Here Mr. Donne? was converted, who became the first 


Home Missionary in Victoria, and was, a year or so prior 
to his death, in the status of a Minister. Some account 
of him follows at an after page, (See also Ovens and 
Murray District.) 

The work of the Minister had by this time fallen 
much into the ordinary groove. But it was toil- 
some and fatiguing to the physical frame. The Rev. 
Mr. Raston could not ride, and during his superintendency 
no horse was kept by the Circuit, An occasional loan of 
one from a friend, was the variation in the way of locomo- 
tion from the long and monotonous walking. Mr. Raston 
could walk fifteen to eighteen miles in a day. Mr. Mewton 
was a smart pedestrian, but his constant travels and 
exposure appeared to some to be undermining his fine 
constitution. Mr. Blamires frequently walked sixteen miles 
on the Sabbath day, summer as well as winter, besides 
holding three preaching ser\aces with class and prayer 
meetings added. These physical toils, with other things, 
told adversely upon the health. Mr. Raston was seriously 
ill in the summer of 1857-8, and had Mr. Angwin as 
his supply. Mr. Blamires was laid aside by colonial fever, 
during some weeks of the summer 1858-9, and Mr, E. B. 
Burns took the junior Minister's work, until, by the care of 
friends, especially that of the late Mrs. Powell (afterwards 
Etchells) who entertained him most hospitably at her farm 
at Muckleford, the sick Minister's strength was recruited, 
and his active duties were resumed. 

The remembrance of those fatigues is better than the 
feeling of them, yet the experience, in its novelty and 
variety, left behind some flavour and savour like to what 
is cherished by those who have had remarkable adven- 
tures by " flood and field." These Ministers of the early 
times do not now " shoulder the crutch, and show how fields 
were won" ; they cannot compare with the catalogue of 
Apostolic sufferings. "In journey ings often, in perils of 
waters, in perils of robbers, in cold and nakedness, etc.," 
but they may relate by tongue and pen, not for vaunting of 


self, but to stimulate others to fortitude of spirit and action, 
some of the brave hardihood they showed, and severity of 
labours through which they passed. Even now, the recital 
of past toils is like the sound of a bugle to the old warhorse, 
revives the old spirit, and makes them ready for renewed 
struggles. But, ah ! they are soon reminded they have 
not their former strength. Their day is nearly past, and 
they must leave to younger brethren to face the foe, carry 
on the struggle, and win the victories tliat are to come. 
They did not effect as much as they had meant to do in 
that golden day, but tlie day came and went, some blessed 
service was done in it, and they can now cheerfully hope 
that the young men succeeding, and taking up the work, 
will do better than their fathers in the gospel have done. 
May they grapple bravely with the difficulties, endure hard- 
ness as good soldiers of the Cross, and show far better out- 
come and results. To God be all the praise ! " Neither 
is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth ; but 
God that giveth the increase." 

Not alone bodily fatigue, but the conditions of living 
told injuriously upon the health of professional men, and 
upon the greater proportion of the miners also. The water 
was often unwholesome. It was good when rain could be 
caught and kept in buckets or tanks, but was bad in the 
summer, as frequently the supply was only the drainage 
water from the diggings. The Minister at Chapel Hill had 
to be thankful for water drawn up from a deserted hole, 
and when brought to the top, looking of the colour and 
consistency of pea soup, then by ashes, lime, or alum cast 
into it, after some hours the water was cleared and became 
fit for drinking or for cooking. The diet was of little 
variety. Few vegetables, save in the form of pickles, 
could be had ; fresh vegetables were very dear. The man 
who brought the first di-ay-loads of fresh cabbages into 
Ballarat, made £60, by retailing them at 2s. 6d. and 3s. per 
head. Newly turned earth on a farm is reckoned healthy, 
but the newly turned earth with the stagnant water 


on the diggings was decidedly unhealthy. Many diggers 
by these prejudicial sanitary conditions, and by over- 
work, were laid low by sickness and a kind of fever 
tei'med colonial, overtaking them, proved often fatal — fatal, 
in many instances, not through the virulence or deadly 
nature of the attack at the first, but through want of good 
nursing. The writer has seen a good many diggers thus 
prostrate, with only their brother diggers to attend to them. 
Hard diet, occasional meals, inexperienced care were not 
the best things to pull them through ; these rather aggra^ 
vated the disease, and caused them to succumb. Good 
women nurses Avere very scarce. Frequently, the Minister 
was called for in the night as well as day time to visit a 
sick or dying man. Travelling by night on the diggings 
was often dangerous and always disagreeable. The digger 
coming for the Minister would equip himself with his 
primitive lantern, a clear bottle, with the end cut deftly 
off, and a tallow candle stuck into the neck. By this light 
he would guide himself, and on his return, the Minister 
also, as he threaded the netwoi'k of deep and shallow holes 
on every hand, or took the range or hilly ground in prefer- 
ence, if such was near, even though the distance might be a 
little farther. Mr. Blamires used for such expeditions, and 
for return journeys from week night services at distant 
places, a small bull's eye lantern, useful both for seeing 
the path amongst " shicer" holes and deserted diggings, and 
also for defence against prowling dogs. The pastor's work 
was as successful amongst the sick and dying, as amongst 
any class, although it needed all his faith in the sufficiency 
of Christ's grace, and the universality of His atonement for 
human sin, to hold out the proffer of life to some dying 
reprobates. Nevertheless, the thouglit that he was doing 
something for a pious praying mother at home, animated 
him to do his best for the scapegrace swi dying in a strange 
land. Moreover, the man, young or old, was the blood- 
bought property of Jesus, and was embraced in the promise 
■of pardon, although the prime of life had been given to 


Mammon, and the poor dregs of life were all that was left 
to give to God. The instruction had to be as simple, and 
the attention as prompt in the tent or diggings Hospital, 
as with the Chaplain to the dying on battle-field, or in 
soldier's camp. 

Other part of Ministerial duty was to attend at the tea 
meeting, with its social enlivenment, and engage in its after 
speaking and singing. This was about the only recreation 
for the steady part of the diggings' population, and served 
to counteract in others, in some degree, the attractions of 
the dram shop and the dancing and gambling saloons. 
They became somewhat stale to the Minister who had to 
attend so many of them. j\Ir. Blamires had three nights in 
succession taken up with them, in his first week in the 
Castlemaine Circuit, and found them to recur in his own 
denomination, with occasional help to other Churches, on 
the average of one meeting a fortnight. Nevertheless, 
the vocal and instrumental music of open-air service, and of 
anniversary tea meetings, to say nothing of the mental and 
material food then given, wei'e some counterpoise to the 
rolhcking songs, banjo and tambourines, hurdy gurdies and 
concertinas, by which other places of entertainment catered 
for the public, with the far from laudable purpose to entice 
them to drinking, dice, cardplaying, and other ways of dis- 
sipation. At the tea meeting the mental food was not 
strong meat, and the music was not classical ; but the 
provision, with its due mixing up of sandwiches and saffron 
cake, tarts and cream, was sound and palatable; the singing 
was lusty, hearty, congregational, and when given by 
children very sweet and attractive ; and the speeches, con- 
versational, humourous, with a few grains of wholesome 
instruction mixed in plenty of chaff", fun and anecdote, if 
not very refined, served as a pleasant entertainment, and 
often attracted persons to the gatherings, who would not 
have ventured i»side Wesleyan places of worship. James 
Jeffrey was a very popular man on the platform, and few 
tea meetings took place but his services were sought after, 


and they were often secured. The mirth was a medicine, 
the explosive laughter was a good tonic, after the weari- 
some drudgery and monotony of the digger "s toil, and the 
sinfdnf was a potent charm wherewith to allure earthbound 
men to nobler thoughts and a higher life. 

In the years 1858-60 the Church had made good progress, 
so that the members had increased from 335 to 455 (inclu- 
sive of 58 at Maldon) and the Churches from 10 to 18. 
The Circuit had, from its commencement, a preaching station 
at Mr. E. Parker's at Mount Franklin, but latterly it had 
been extending its area in that neighbourhood, now embrac- 
ing Churches at Franklinford, Yandoit, Spring Creek (Hep- 
bum), which will be noted in the account of the Daylesford 
Circuit. At this period, a monthly visit was paid by the 
Ministers, in turn, to those outlying places. 

At Franklinford was the Protectorate school for the 
Aborigines, some of whom were steady in work, and the 
younger of them could read, write, and work elementary 
sums. Usually some of them attended the religious ser- 
vice and understood fairly the sermons preached in the 
English tongue. 

The Circuit was subsequently favoured with the Ministry 
of the Revs. John Harcourt and John Catterall, during 
which time it continued to prosper, and returned 415 
members at the Conference of 1863. The Revs. William 
Hill and Edwin I. Watkin succeeded them ; and the Con- 
ference could not have sent at that time truer yokefellows 
and more efficient Ministers to forward the interests of the 
Church in this important goldtield Mr. Hill's intelligent 
and forceful exposition of the Word took hold of the more 
educated persons in the community, and some were led to 
unite with the Church. Mr. Watkin, vigorous, genial, 
unassuming, indefatigable, suited all classes, and his 
Ministry was blessed to very many. At this period came 
about Mr. Donnes' conversion, which was all the more 
notable, because of his race and creed, and because of the 
f ruitfulness of his religious life after con^•ersion. His father 


was a Greek, and a member of the Greek Catholic Church. 
His mother was a Roman Catholic, and so also "was his 
stepmother, and his training as a child was in that Church. 
He was induced to enter the Wesleyan Church, on the occa- 
sion of an anniversary, and there he heard truths which set 
him thinking about his spiritual state. He was awakened to 
a sense of his sin and danger under a sermon by the Rev. 
John Harcourt, and some time after this, under the 
ministry of the Rev. E. I. Watkin, was led to Christ. He 
met with opposition from his family and friends at the 
first, but continued as a disciple of Christ, and began to 
work for Him. His effort led a brother to believe in the 
same Saviour and rejoice in His salvation. He became a 
Sabbath school Teacher and Local Preacher, was the first 
Layman employed as a Home Missionary by the Wesleyan 
Conference, after its Society for Home Missions was formed ; 
and eventually entered the Ministry of this Church in 1883. 
After a life of devoted service and much usefulness, he 
finished his course on earth at Yackandandah, in April 1884, 
and has left a name fragrant with pious memories in the 
places where he laboured. 

The Campbell's Creek society had grown, and the neces- 
sities of an increasing congregation demanded a new Church, 
which was accordingly erected and opened in October, 1863. 
This Church became the scene of a notable revival, in the 
years 1866-7, under the ministry of the Rev. Edward King 
and Rev. Charles Dubourg, the resident Minister. The 
good work spread to most places of the Circuit. The har- 
vestmen, clerical and lay, rejoiced to gather in the sheaves. 
The nlembership, which was 506 at the Conference of 
1886, reached 554 in 1869, notwithstanding a consider- 
able depression of mining interests, and departure of 
numbers of persons to other parts occasioned thereby. 
This period seems to have been the acme of the spiritual 
prosperity of this Circuit. Strong and flourishing as it 
had been up to this time, it became henceforth subject to 
varied fluctuations. The mining activity has decKned, 


and the town and district have passed through the experi- 
ences which many of the older towns in the colony have 
known, and have witnessed the departure, in droves, both of 
stalwart men, and of the rising and enterprising youth of 
the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, the Circuit has had 
eminent Ministers as Superintendents : — Revs. Thomas 
James, Henry Bath, George Daniel, Thomas "Williams, 
Peter R. C. Ussher and others, with active young men as 
juniors as — Revs. Ralph Brown and John H. Tuckfield. In 
this year of grace, 1886, under the ministry of the Rev. James 
Lowe, it numbers — 13 Churches, 362 members, 1041 Sab- 
bath scholars, and some 1500 adherents, and is still a strong 
and commanding Circuit. The names of Roden, Water- 
worth, Crow, Etchells, Ebbott, etc., dating from early times 
in their connection with the Circuit, are still found in the 
list of the active ofl&cial Laymen. We have been glad to 
recount in this chapter the rise and establishment of a work 
of God, which has had interesting phases of religious life, 
and may be regarded as a fair type of the Methodist 
activity, and pioneering and progressive work on the gold- 
fields of Victoria. Methodists have no hesitation in calling 
this planting of Churches and spread of religion a work 

of God for 

" Be He nowhere else, 
God is in all that liberates and lifts, 
In all that humbles, sweetens, and consoles. " 



The station at Maldon was at first an integral part of the 
Castlemaine Circuit. The diggings and the township are 
on the slope at the foot of Mount Tarrengower. A more 
pleasant site for a town could scarcely be found than oa. 


the side of this mountain. The present town is close to 
some of the diggings, but is not so much intermingled with 
forsaken shafts and diggings, as are many other towns on 
the goldfields. It is compact and sightly. Some rich finds 
of gold were made here in 1853, first at Long Gully, then at 
Growler's Gully. Discoveries at the Beehive, Western, 
Eaglehawk, Nuggetty, Pegleg, Parkins', and Welshman's 
Reefs rapidly followed. A considerable population located 
here in the year above named, and in subsequent years. 
Among the first Methodists were Messrs M. Morgan, Noble, 
Crockett, Clarkson, then shortly afterwards came Messrs. 
John Boots, James Warnock, Richard and H. Tregaskis, 
and James Jeffrey. As usual on the goldfields, the Local 
Preachers had a good part in beginning the cause, and the 
several stages of Chapel erections were passed through, 
first of canvas, then on to that of brick. The preaching 
was from stump or log at the first ; then a tent, or three 
tents together were used as a preaching place. The site 
was near that of the pi-esent Church. It is related that the 
first collection for this canvas Church was mostly in half- 
crown pieces (no threepenny bits in use then). One person 
outside stufied a one pound note through a slit in the tent, 
which note was added to the collection. A new Church was 
erected in 1856, and the congregation had become sufficiently 
important by the year 1858 that a Minister, the Rev. H. 
Chester, was stationed, and in the next year a new Circuit 
formed. The outlying places embraced therein were a small 
structure at Eaglehawk, arid a preaching appointment at 
Mr. Crockett's farm at Sandy Creek. The Eaglehawk con- 
gregation may be considered as one with that at Maldon 
for the purposes of our writing. The two congregations 
were closely identified. Mr. Crockett had a family of 
stalwart sons and daughters, who were of one mind in reli- 
gion, and formed the Church in his house. Mr. Boots was 
a pillar in the Church. He was a devout, studious, 
respected, and reliable man. Every one held him in high 
esteem, and the congregations to which he mmistered as a 


Local Preacher, heard him with pleasure and profit, as he 
spoke to them the words of life. He had considerable 
changes in his earthly lot, and knew some sore afflictions in 
person and family in his later years, but he wavered not in 
his fidelity to Christ and his attachment to the Church of 
his choice. He had not much humour or quaintness, as had 
JeSrey, not such push and enterprise as had many who had 
been long in the colonies, but he was as true as steel, firm 
as a rock. His name is intimately connected with the 
story of Methodism in South Australia, where he was one 
of the pioneers, and in Victoria, where he spent the latter 
portion of his useful life. Certainly he carved his name on 
Maldon Church and its interests, and there his name will 
be long held in memorial. Mr. James Warnock came to 
Maldon as a young man, an emigrant from Ireland, and 
was one of the many intelligent and foremost men which 
that fair Isle has furnished to Australian Methodism. As 
the chief founder and builder of a large business, held by 
Messrs. Warnock Brothers, he was closely associated with 
the social, commercial, and mining prosperity of Maldon. 
He was free, with his shrewd business ability and liberal 
gifts, to promote the interests of the ^lethodist Church. 
Not alone in Maldon, but in connection with General 
Church Committees, the District Meetings, and the Confer- 
ence he has given ungrudgingly his time, and brought 
the influence of his social position, his wide acquaintance 
with men and business, and his considerable powers of 
thought and speech, to forward the peace, establishment 
and increase of Victorian Methodism. He is the fore- 
mostLayman in the Castlemaine and Sandhurst District, 
and was representative of Australian Methodism at the 
--iEcumenical Conference of our Church held in London in 
the year 1881. 

The Rev. H. Chester was an active, merry, brotherly 
Wesleyan Minister. When he began a sermon he hastened 
through at top speed, crowding in as much material as would 
suflice ordinary preachers for three occasions. Some of his. 


sermons -were well worth listening to. He had a " great 
gun," a sermon on the text, " Man dieth and wasteth away, 
etc." He preached it at his first service in many Churches, 
and we are shrewdly positive that he did so on his first 
Sabbath in Maldon. He could enjoy a good laugh, and 
could raise a laugh by his home thrusts or witty remarks. 
Passing by the Melbourne Gaol in Russell-street, in 
company with two Ministers, one of them, who had 
recently been A-isiting a prisoner confined there, asked of 
Mr. Chester, " Have you, at any time, been in the gaol T 
"No," was the reply, "but I have been six years on the 
roads." (In old times con^-icts were employed to make 
main roads, and Wesleyan Ministers, as itinerant, are con- 
stantly travelling over the roads.) His ministry at Maldon 
was one of acceptance and usefulness. 

It was at Maldon in 18.58 that the writer first became 
acquainted with " Jimmy Jeffrey." The former had walked 
from Vaughan to Maldon, some fifteen miles, to hear the 
Rev. Mr. Dare preach a sermon. It was given in the 
afternoon of a day when the tea and public ineeting was 
held in the evening. Mr. Dare could electrify an audience 
when he liked to address himself thereto by a suitable speech. 
His effort at this meeting told immensely upon the 
sympathies of the people, but when Jefi'rey spoke also, 
it was at once seen by the writer, that he could play 
cadences and touch chords in the hearts of the people that, in 
his own quaint, original way, would evoke their enthusiasm, 
even as did the magnificent orator. A short, sturdy man, 
with dark hair and features, small eyes having a curious 
twinkle in them at times, with a demeanour in the pulpit 
and on the platform, quiet and modest, there was not 
much in the first glance at him, to indicate the fund of 
humour that was in him. Nor did the humour come out on 
all occasions. There were times when he was fettered in 
public speaking, and had (what he called himself) a 
"straight jacket on." But, usually, his homely talk, his 
quaint repartee, his Cornish brogue, his unexpected turns 


of remark, his pertinent illustrations, conjoined with his 
acknowledged piety, made him a great power with the congre- 
gations gathered in the mining districts. Tales of his 
quaintness, humour, force, linger with a sweet perfume 
about the goldfields. 

He had a cut at stormy-weather Christians in the reply 
he gave to a Minister, when the ship, by which he and others 
emigrated to South Australia, came into port. It was a 
custom then for a Wesleyan Minister to go on board a 
newly-arrived immigrant ship to search for any of the 
Wesleyan flock who were passengers. The Minister on this 
occasion addressed himself to the chief officer of the vessel, 
and told him his errand. He was directed by the officer to 
go to a short, thick set man, who was on deck, who could 
give him all the information he wanted. This was our 
friend Jeffrey. The Minister spoke to him, " I have been 
told by the chief officer, that you could furnish me with 
particulars I want to know. I am a Wesleyan Minister. 
Are there Wesleyans in your ship, or are there any praying 
people amongst the passengers 1 The reply was, "Oh, yes, 
we have plenty of praying people on board"— (then a pause 
and comical side glance at the Minister) — when "there 
is a storm." 

He did not spare in his sermons milk and water Chris- 
tians, nor that class of sinners which is like the blacksmith's 
dog, that can stand fire when the hot sparks are falling all 
around. It is related that he was preaching in a Church in 
the Ballarat neighbourhood, when the weather was oppres- 
sively hot. Said Jeffrey, in the course of his sermon, " You 
boys (pointing to the auditory) think it fairish hot in 
Chapel to-day, but this is a mere nothing to the heat 
of the devil's kitchen, where, if ye don't repent and be 
converted, ye'll burn for ever and ever." This outburst 
of plain speaking caused a titter of laughter, something 
to the preacher's annoyance. He stopped, turned round 
in the pulpit, took off his coat, and wiped the per- 
spiration from his face with his handkerchief, then he 


placed another hot shot amongst his hearers, when he 
added, " Ye laughed just now when I told you of the heat 
of a certain * old villain's' kitchen. But, believe me, if the 
dear " Maister" but comes to any of your bedsides to-night, 
and takes you by the hair of the head, and shakes you over 
the burning pit, that will soon bring you to your senses and 
take all the giggling out of you." 

On the other hand, the writer heard him appeal to his 
congregation on this wise. " You diggers mark out a claim, 
and put down your pegs near to a mount, say that it is 
Mount Alexander, or Mount Tarrengower, or the Wombat 
Hill, and you go to work in the hope of finding the gold, 
and some of you come on a rich patch, and others sink 
*shicer' holes; 'tis terribly uncertain about finding the 
gold ; but I'll lay you on to the best place. Here, you 
diggers, come mark out a claim by Mount Calvary ; put 
down your pegs and you'll not find it uncertain work ; there 
is the real gold to be got here, and no 'shicer' holes, not 
one, and no license fee ; come and take salvation without 
money and without price, the gift of Jesu's love. The good 
Lord laid down the gold where many of you have been 
finding it, and the same dear Lord, out of His boundless 
love in giving His Son to die, has brought heavenly riches 
within the reach of every man of you, but you'll have to be 
smart in getting it, or the devil's police '11 have you in the 
lock-up." The troopers of that time were not at all in 
favour with the diggers, and Jefirey availed himself of any 
local prejudices in his allusions, as he did when the squatters 
in the neighbourhood of Daisy Hill had been impounding the 
diggers' horses, which, when hobbled and turned out, the 
diggers thought should have free commons on anybody's run, 
without let or hindrance, seeing the squatters had so good a 
market for their sheep where there was a crowd of diggers. 
The text was, "Now they desire eihetter country, that is, an 
heavenly." Said the preacher, " You thought in the old 
country, when you could scarcely get bread for yourselves 
and family with very hard work, that you would like to 


go to Australia. You lieard of it as a fine land for the poor 
man ; plenty of wages or plenty of gold. Some weeks of 
the same labour as at home, would just keep body and soul 
together, would here give you a start for farming, or make 
your fortune by the gold. Yoa desired that better country 
of which you had heard, and you were at some pains to get 
there. You paid your passage money and you braved the 
discomforts of the voyage and the perils of the sea to get 
here ; and some of you have not found it up to expecta- 
tion. But I tell you, if you'll be at pains to get to the 
heavenly land you'll find it indeed a better country, and 
beyond expectation. All healthy people, all holy spirits ; 
no terrible pain ; no tempting devil ; nothing to dis- 
turb ; no people to annoy ; there'll be no squatters there," 
which was certainly a new way of saying, " there'll be 
no trouble there," but which took immensely with his 
digger congregation. 

He was great at illustration. A favourite text was 
Psalm xl., verses 1-3. " He brought me up also out of an 
horrible pit, etc." He pictured before his mining hearers 
a wet sinking claim, where, as he said, the drives were 
unsafe, and the ground liable at any minute to fall in or be 
flooded. "There," said he, "is the man on top, one hand 
on the rope and the other on the windlass, ready, at a 
minute's notice, to draw up. The bucket is below ; the 
schist and water is coming in, and will soon fill the drives. 
Tlie word has been passed up, so that the man at the 
windlass is aware of the danger. He dreads a catastrophe, 
and shouts down the shaft — ' Below there ! jump in the 
backet quick for your life.' But what do you think, boys," 
said Jimmy, " the stupid fellow of a man, instead of at once 
attending to the warning, runs here and there to gather up 
the picks and gads. ' Below there ! ' again the top man 
cries, 'jump into the bucket for your life, or it will be too 
late.' This time," said Jimmy, " the fool runs up another 
drive to get his old oilskin coat, and allows the shovels, 
picks, and gads to be drawn up in the bucket instead of 


himself." He then vividly described the horror of the top 
man when he found no man in the bucket. He lowers 
again, but it is too late ; all is over ; the drives are full 
and water rising in the shaft. " Poor fellow," says Jimmy^ 
as he wipes the big tears away — " Poor fellow ; he tried to 
save his old oilskin coat at the cost of his life. What a 
fool he was ! Mates, don't 'e think so 1 But, although I 
know you will all say, ' A big fool, indeed T yet you boys 
'up along there' are guilty of like folly. You are down 
deep in the mine of sin. Salvation's bucket is let down to 
you from the great ' top-man,' Jesus Christ, by the gospel 
rope. The dear ' Maister' cries to you to jump in and be 
saved; but you are saying, "No hurry, Maister; I must 
run for the picks and gads, and gather up my old, almost 
worn-out duds, and then I'll get in salvation's bucket, and 
be hauled aloft and be saved.' Poor fools," echoed Jimmy 
• — poor fools ! if you let slip your only chance of escape and 
be lost, ye will have no one to blame but yourselves. Ye 
will commit self-murder by allowing your working tools to 
go aloft, while you, yourselves, are flooded to death in the 
dark, deep mine. The good Lord save you all !" Another 
version gives Jeffrey as getting a man into the bucket 
and then crying out, " Wind him up. Lord ! Wind him 
up. Lord !" 

After Maldon, he was in Ballarat, then from 1871, 
atBendigo; and his last place of sojourn was at Moonta 
mines in South Australia, where he died. 

It is related of him that in this latter mining district, 
after the first Mrs. Jeffrey died, he paid his addresses 
to a buxom widow, with a view to renew his home com- 
forts by marriage with her. On a dark night he had been 
to visit her, and on returning, he fell into a rather deep 
hole. It was so deep that he could not get out by himself, 
and was necessitated to call long and lustily, before help 
came to him. At lengtli two miners heard him, found out 
who he was, and speedily brought him up to the surface. 
On enquiring, " Well ' Jimmy, ' however did you get there *?" 


Oh ! was the reply, I had been to Mrs. So and So's, and 
after some chat I thought it was time to return home, and 
you know, I can't see so well as I could, and so stumbled 
into this here pit ; and when down there I thought, ' What 
a big fool you are at your time of life to go courting, and 
stop out late at night, and the Lord has made you suffer 
for it,' and I promised the Lord if he would get me out of 
that hole that I would never go courting again." Jeffrey 
kept his promise, for he got married immediately, and his 
second wife survived him. 

James Jeffrey was born in Illogan parish, Cornwall, on 
Christmas day, 1817, and died in Moonta, South Aus- 
tralia in 1880. His last words were, as though refer- 
ring to his landing on the heavenly shore from sonje 
emigrant ship, " 'Tis packed up in a small parcel. I'm in 
sight of land. I'll soon be home." Then he slept in Jesus. 
One who visited him, when his sun was fast setting, 
declared, " I knew Jimmy Jeffrey from the time of his con- 
version. He was always the same, full of faith and joy ; 
and as he lived, so he died." He was to the miners of this 
Southern world as those worthies of Methodist renown — 
Sammy Hick, in his simple-hearted, straightforward zeal ; as 
Billy Dawson, in his graphic descriptive powers ; and as 
Peter Cartwright, in his bizarre humour, and lion-hearted 
courage. Had Methodism a Westminster Abbey, she might 
well put him there, for she owes him a great debt, and his 
name and memory she will not willingly let die. 

The Rev. W Woodall succeeded Mr. Chester as the 
resident Minister at Maldon, and gave himself with his 
usual fervour to the ministry of "the Word" and promoting 
social prayer meetings as a means to vital godliness. The 
result was a good work of grace, and many accessions to the 
Church of Christ. The returns given at the District 
Meeting, 1860, showed 69 members, and 82 on trial. The 
Rev. George B. Richards was appointed in 1861. A 
Christian gentleman, handsome in his personal appearance, 
and having the refined manners which might be expected 


from his education at Oxford, he could sympathise with the 
poor, and do service to the lowly ; in which he found an 
admirable help-meet in his most excellent wife. Some 
thought him a valetudinarian, and too much given to the 
care of his health, but only those who suffer from chronic 
bodily ailments, know what prudence and care are required 
from such persons in order to preserve any health and life. 
Lengthened days are his best justification of his own pro- 
cedure in regard to himself, and valuable service, that he 
could not have rendered with the vehemence and passionate 
energy which unthinking persons demanded, and which would 
have spent quickly his vital powers, has been given to the 
Church by more quiet metliods, over an extended series of 
years. He was sound and instructive as a preacher, and 
esteemed for his courtesy and kindness as a pastor. The Rev. 
John Catterall came next, being transferred from Castlemaine 
to Maldon, by the Conference of 1862. He had good business 
habits, and considerable energy, which fitted him for the 
undertaking he at once commenced — the building of a new 
Church. The project was started in January, 188.3, when 
the munificent donation of £1-50 from Messrs. "Warnock 
Brothers headed the subscription-list. This had increased 
in a fortnight afterwards to a sum over £500. The struc- 
ture is the present Wesleyan Church, which still speaks 
to the credit of the architects and promoters of its work by 
its neat appearance and its fine accommodation. It is a 
building, 60 feet by 35 feet, and was dedicated to the 
worship of God at the end of this year by ser%"ices 
conducted by esteemed and popular Ministers. 

Meanwhile, in this year of grace, so memorable for the 
extensive revivals of religion throughout Victoria, a great 
ingathering of persons to the fold of Christ had taken place, 
and many converts had experienced a saving change in their 
hearts. The Minister wrote, "There has not been much 
visible excitement, but the power of the Lord has been 
present to wound and to heal." The Holy Spirit's power 
had accompanied the preached word, and the varied 


agencies and services in use had been so blessed that it was 
computed that over fifty persons had received the end of 
their faith, the conscious salvation of the Lord Jesus, and 
were added to the Church." That local Church of old and 
new members, " walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the 
comfort of the Holy Ghost" was multiplied. 

The Church has maintained a good hold of the people of 
Maldon, the Methodists having the most numerous congre- 
gation of the sections of the Church of Christ represented 
in the town. Smaller Churches have been located in several 
hamlets and districts adjacent. The district looks lovely in 
spring, with its green pastures, smiling fields of corn, pleas- 
ing contour of hills bounding the valleys and the plain. 
The majesty of Tarrengower towers above the whole, and 
Maldon is a gem of a town situate on its slope, much as a 
gold brooch is set on a matron's bosom. The place has a 
thrifty well-to-do community, and the pastor is favoured 
who in a quiet round of duties, preaches the word in this 
neat and commodious Church, and watches over the 
f pi -itual welfare of this simple-hearted and united brother- 
hood of people. • 

Maryborough, Talbot, and Avoca. — The diggings at 
Avoca started about ^lay, 18.")4. Mr. John Meaden was 
one of the multitude who came to the rush in search of gold. 
He started Methodist services, and gathered together some 
of the God-fearing people. Mr. Joseph Jennison, arriving 
from Adelaide, was soon at Mr. Meaden's side, assisting 
him. These and other Local Preachers maintained the 
services, encouraged by an occasional visit of the Rev, W. P. 
Wells. At the second visit of their pastor, a canvas tent, 
near the police court, was opened as the appointed preaching 
place. With the fluctuations of those early times, Avoca 
was sometimes almost deserted, and at other times it was a 
flourishing Methodist centre. The Rev. Mr. Dyson came 
as resident Minister in 18.55. 

Alma, near Maryborough, was one of the "rushes" 
where, so far as we can glean, the Methodist standard was 


early lifted up. James Jeffrey, who was general evangelist 
by his own appointment, to many goldfields, came here 
from New Zealand about three weeks after the first 
" rush" took place. This might be in 1854 or beginning of 
1855. His tact and manner of managing a crowd were 
well illustrated on the occasion of his first service. He 
had asked his old fellow-workers on arrival, " Have you 
established preaching f " No." " How is that V " There 
are too many rowdies." " If you will help me, I will try." 
On Sunday the Methodists assembled, and by singing 
brought the multitude around them. After the openino- 
exercises were over, Jeffrey mounted on a stump, and looked 
round on the upturned faces of his new audience. The 
levities of some and the movements of others indicated that 
a critical moment was reached, but the man was equal to 
the difficulty. Addressing those on the outskirts of the 
assembly, he said, " My dear friends" (then casting his 
eyes on the knot of professing Christians round him) " these 
Methodists here ought to be ashamed of themselves. They 
have been three weeks here among you, and never given 
you the benefit of one public service. (A laugh, and " hear, 
hear.") But they intend now to mend their ways ; and if 
you will listen, I will try to preach." He had won the 
crowd to his side. He preached undisturbed, and for many 
Sabbaths afterwards public services were held, and worship 
offered to the Triune God. He had a great fund 
of humour, and was only excelled in his management of 
an out-door audience by the Rev. William Taylor, who 
did so much pioneer work in San Francisco and other 
parts of California. People ask, "What were his sermons 
like 1 How could an uneducated miner hold a pro- 
miscuous audience'?" "I wondered until I heard him," 
said one. " I had heard English preachers of most Churches, 
from the Anglican Bishop downwards. I felt when he 
entei'ed the pulpit the old, ' dost thou teach us ' prejudice. 
But his manifest intelligence soon dispelled this ; and as he 
went on in his well-arranged discourse, I lost the mastery of 


myself, and in vain tried to laugh inwardly and to cry 
inwardly at his sarcasm and pathos, the laugh would out, 
the tears would come." So this master in our Israel with 
his comrades, stood up for King Jesus amidst and against 
the overflowing ungodliness of the place Men of all creeds 
and classes were there. Persons, some of learning and culture, 
having academic degrees, with others ranging down to con- 
victs and criminals, all in feverish excitement, seeking gold. 
The law enforced a Sabbath of cessation from mining, but 
on that day trees were felled, clothes washed, and trade, 
more or less, openly carried on. Some were gambling, some 
drinking, the irreligious made it a day of revel, and not infre- 
quently, a set tight took place. But the pious few stood up 
for God against the workers of iniquity. " They that 
feared the Lord spake often one to another," in fellowship 
•of piety ; they that were soldiers of King Jesus, clustered 
together in phalanx of indomitable steadfastness. 

Presently, a Wesleyan Minister came to their help ; the 
Rev. W. P. Wells paid them a visit, then speedily 
the Rev. Martin Dyson was stationed amongst them. 
On April IGtli, 1855, Mr. Dyson passed his examinations 
before the Chairman of the District and otlier Ministers, and 
received his license as a Minister of tlie Gospel. Then he 
was sent to serve the migratory populations at Maryborough, 
Talbot, and Avoca. Those places with others, ranging from 
Beaufort on the south-west, to Duuolly and the Loddon on 
the north-east, were considered the junior Minister's branch 
of the Castlemaine Circuit. Travel was rough, the roads 
were execrable, being only bush tracks, sojue leading over 
the plains to the east of Carisbrook, which by reason of the 
number and badness of crab-holes, were locally called the Bay 
of Biscay. A journey on the ooach by that route, was one of 
hard endurance or torture, when a man had occasion to travel 
that way. The young man, however, did most of his travel 
on foot. Now and then a friend would lend a horse, but not 
often. Long dista»ces were Measured and traversed by 
walking exercise. On October 12th he walked twenty -five 


miles home to his tent at Alma, and, on arriving there 
footsore and weary, found that some one had cut open his 
tent, and taken away everything but his books. On the 
following Sunday, some friend gave him a sovereign. Mr. 
H. Clarkson and others came also with their liberal help, 
but his loss was only partly met, and the thief was never 
discovered. Yet the true-hearted young Minister held on 
to his work, meeting Classes, conducting service, preaching 
sermons, visiting sick diggers in their prostration, and 
carrying the Gospel to some in their dying moments. A 
new difficulty confronted him. Most of the population left 
Alma, thousands went to Fiery Creek, so it was thought 
prudent to remove his tent and pitch it at Avoca, which 
was done in the end of October 1855. By this time 
preaching had been established in tents at Alma, Avoca, 
Daisy Hill or Amherst, Back Creek or Talbot, and Mary- 
borough. Services were held regularly in them on the 
Sunday, and at times in the open-air. A tent was also set 
up at Fiery Creek in the midst of 20,000 diggers. Mr. 
Dyson says : — " There was an abundance of open and 
shameless sin committed with impunity, but we were not 
molested in our work. On no occasion was I insulted by a 
digger, or interrupted in public worship." The accommoda- 
tion for worshippers was of 'a primitive style. The seats 
were commonly of roughly shaped or sawn timber, secured 
to legs made of saplings or odd lengths of wood driven into 
the ground. The tents were not always of good construction, 
and sometimes were torn to pieces. At Daisy Hill the roof of 
one which rested on a wooden frame, was blown off, but on 
the next morning (Sunday), service was held within the 
walls, minus the roof. A violent squall nearly brought the 
canvas Church at Maryborough to the ground. That at 
Alma was much damaged by a storm. The preacher, in order 
to reach distant places, often left his home at Avoca at five 
o'clock in the morning of Sunday, and walked to his appoint- 
ments. The accommodation for him at different stopping 
places was rough also. The friends wepe kind, but their 


means were scanty. When he remained over the night at 
Maryborough, he had special hospitality, and provision for 
his entertainment above the average, through the kindness 
of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Williams. At their canvas home, 
his sleeping place was in the storeroom, on the heights of 
well filled sacks. Then he thought himself " in clover." In 
other places, rough canvas stretchers were at his service. 
These were placed behind barricades and partitions, made 
of piles of cases in rough and ready stores. At other times 
he slept on counters or on the ground, wrapped in rugs or 
blankets. Happily, as he himself says, " I could sleep any- 
where, and my work was delightful everywhere." He threw 
his whole heart into the work, but, nevertheless, met with 
considerable discouragement. If the accommodation was 
hard, and the roads were rough, it was immensely rougher 
in his spiritual enterprise. It was hard to sing the song 
of Zion amidst, at times, almost demoniac revelry ; it was 
hard to breast, much more to turn the tide setting in, with so 
swift and overbearing a current, towards gambling, drink- 
ing, debauchery, perdition ; it was hard to persuade men, 
grovelling in earth, bound to it as galley slaves to the oar, 
by the eager quest for gold, to strike for spiritual liberty, 
or lift up themselves for one good look at Heaven. There 
came a moment when he liung his harp upon the willow. 
The young man's heart fainted within him ; but only for a 
time. Dismayed at the mass of evil, feeling his personal 
insufficiency to cope with its giant forms he, in a fit of 
mental depression, handed in his resignation to the Rev. 
Mr. Wells. This was about the time for holding the 
Quarterly Meeting (September) at Castlemaine. That 
resignation was not accepted. Judicious counsel by Mr. 
Wells, and the kindly action of tlie Superintendent, with 
all the officials of the Quarterly Meeting, saved Mr. Dyson 
from a perilous error in his judgment and course of action. 
The young Minister was heartened again. He returned to 
his duty with a renewed commission, and battled against 
distressing personal temptation, and surrounding wicked- 


ness of others, manfully and bravely, so the temptation to leave 
his post ultimately and finally left him, and he had the after 
joys of spiritual victories and successful labours. Mr. 
Dyson has since had an honourable and useful Ministerial 
career in the islands of the South Sea, and in the colony of 
Victoria. He writes concerning that time of mental 
depression : — " The kindly sympathy of dear old Father 
Boots, who is so well known and honoured in Methodism, 
has left a most fragrant memory in connection with my 
visits to Castlemaine. He was the first who turned my 
attention to the study of the Greek New Testament, and 
gave me an old copy which he had himself used. This had 
probably an influence in creating the desire for a knowledo-e 
of the foreign tongues which was afterwards gratified in my 
becoming tolerably well acquainted with the languao-es of 
the Samoan and Tongan groups of islands, where I laboured 
many years as a Missionary." St. John's encomium upon 
Gaius is well deserved by Brother Dyson — " Beloved thou 
doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren and 
to strangers," or that further one respecting Demetrius 
he " hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself, 
yea, and we also bear record." 

This branch of the Castlemaine Circuit had become 
almost self-supporting, and, as it had a membership of nearly 
one hundred persons, and was distant so far from Castle- 
maine as to make oversight by the Superintendent resident 
there a great dilficulty, it was by the Conference of 1856 
made into the Avoca Circuit, with eight or nine cono-re^a- 
tions. Although Mr. Dyson had been in^dted to remain 
here, the Conference thought fit to send him to Belfast, and 
the Rev. Barnabas S. Walker was appointed to the new 
Circuit in his stead. Mr. Dyson closed his term in February, 
1856. Has he joy that others reap where he sowed ? 
Does it comfort him in this after time, that in planting this 
vineyard long years ago, he provided clusters of which 
many since have partaken, and perpetuated recurring har- 
vests of fruit, whereby many have been made glad ? In 


Mr. Walker's time, the Circuit acquired consolidation and 
strength. Sunday schools were organized. Day schools 
here and there were begun. The Local Preachers' stafi 
presented a large array of names, whilst some of these were 
above the ordinary ability of the Lay Preachers. The 
cousins, Henry and H. C. Clarkson, were excellent Method- 
ists, and were unsparing of their time, energy, and means to 
advance the work of the Lord. After spending many years 
at Carisbrook, Mr. Henry Clarkson has rendered valuable 
service as a Home Missionary in the Northern stations of 
Durham Ox, Boort, Elmore, etc., and the southerly one of 
Seymour. Worthy of mention are Mr. Stubbs, father of 
Rev. A. Stubbs, of South Australia, Mr. Grewar, father 
of the Rev. Archibald Grewar, Mr. Bird, father of the 
Revs. Bolton Bird, and Thomas Bird, who for a time were 
in the Methodist ministry, and were men of marked ability. 
Mr. Bird, senior, Mr. Ferber, and Mr. George Middleton, 
will be admitted by those who know them, to be men of con- 
siderable mental force, and of sterling Christian character. 
They were powerful and useful as Local Preachers and Class 
Leaders in the places where they resided. The strength of the 
Circuit is manifest by the facts that in the year 1856 it raised 
by its liberal donations to the Foreign Mission Fund, the 
Bum of £49 13s. lOd., whilst the adjoining Circuits, (reputed 
stronger), of Sandhurst raised £55 18s. 6d., and Castlemaine 
£127 lis. ; that at the District Meeting of 1857 the 
number of members was returned at 167 ; and that applica- 
tion was made for a second Minister, who was accordingly 
appointed to the Circuit by the Conference of 1858. 

The Rev. B. S. Walker did not stay long in the 
Wesleyan Ministry. The Rev, Joseph Albiston was his 
successor in the superintendency, and came to the Circuit 
in 1857. His colleague as junior Minister was the Rev. 
William Woodall, who gave the first year of his colonial 
ministry to this part. Mr. Albiston is a Minister of 
gentlemanly, courteous bearing, strict in his attention to 
all points, great and small, of the Methodist economy, and 


of excellent gifts as a preacher and pastor. He, in the second 
year of his term, thought fit to take about his wife, 
who was a faithful companion in Christian work and 
frequent travel. Rumour has it, that they shared in 
sundry misadventures in their travel among the difficult 
roads, tracks, and byways of the extensive Circuit, but that 
was a trifle when the work of God was prospering in their 
hands. Mr. Woodall was known as an earnest, fer\'id preacher, 
who had the solid blessing and reward during years of active 
toil of winning many souls to Christ. But he, too, had the 
searchings of heart and temporary depression of mind which 
came to many young Ministers in the difficult posts of duty 
in which they were placed on the goldfields, for the rough 
accommodation, the new conditions of society, the prevailing 
and abounding wickedness tried men's souls and bodies too. 
In a following year in the Ararat Circuit he was ready to 
faint in mind and fail in physical strength under the 
acclimatizing process, but a little rest was given to him 
and he rallied again with renewed strength and energy. In 
1868 he again was stationed in the Maryborough Circuit. 

The work of building Churches went on rapidly. 
During 1857-8 six new Churches were put up, two of 
brick, the rest of weather-board ; amongst these were one at 
Carisbrook, and one at M'Callum's Creek ; also, a new one 
at Amherst, displacing a building that had been lent by Mr. 
Vickery. The canvas tent at Alma was superseded by a 
more substantial structure. Back Creek rush followed in 
1858-9, and a structure must needs be put up to accommo- 
date the Wesleyans. The opening of the Chux'ch at Amherst 
in September, 1857, had been followed by great spiritual 
prosperity, and the members in that place had increased 
from 15 in 1857 to 68 in January 1859 ; the congrega- 
tion had become too large for the building, so that the 
latter was extended. This strengthening of the cause 
at Amherst made it, for the time being, the principal 
place in the Circuit ; here accordingly the parsonage was 
built, and the Superintendent Minister was located. 


Messrs. Fisher, Halse, and Robinson were active in the 
cause, and long remained to serve its interests. The Cir- 
cuit which at first was named Avoca Circuit, became 
in 1858, the Carisbrook ; in 1861, the Maryborough and 
Amherst ; and later on was divided into the Maryborough, 
and the Talbot and Amherst. The Rev. John C. Symons was 
appointed to the Circuit in 1860, with the Rev. J. J. 
Edf^oose as his colleague. He describes the Circuit as then 
consisting "of small digging communities, with compara- 
tively sparse population, and for the most part the people 
were in humble circumstances." Under Mr. Symons' 
charge, a new brick Church was put up at Maryborough, 
that at Talbot was enlarged, a Circuit debt was swept 
away, and otlier tokens of prosperity set in. He was 
assisted in the later years of his stay by the energetic 
labour and popular gifts of the junior Minister, the Rev. 
E. I. Watkin. These went the round of the itinerancy in 
a wide Circuit, working \'igorously amongst the agricul- 
tural and mining settlements, and making full proof of 
their Ministry. Whilst they were revolving swiftly in 
their small Circuit, the slowly-moving chariot wheels of 
the sun had traced two yearly courses round, and the point 
was reached anew for change to come. The period of man's 
work is measured by the sun. It is so in the itinerancy of 
Methodism. Three revolving years, at the most, completed, 
the old Ministerial staff must depart, and the new one 
come. The Revs. Samuel Waterhouse and Alfred R. 
Fitchett came to take up the work. Mr Waterhouse 
worked the Circuit with his usual ardour for two years 
when failing health compelled liini to desist from tlie active 
life and charge of a Circuit. He has been for years in 
retirement in Tasmania. Mr. Fitchett was a man of 
brilliant gifts, who was the next year transferred to New 
Zealand. In 1865, the Revs. F. E. Stephenson and E. 
Davies were the stationed Ministers. Both were acceptable 
and useful, botli were sons of Wesleyan Ministers in 
England, but after a considerable period of faithful service 


in the Church below, they have at length rejoined one 
another in the Church in heaven. Mr. Stephenson's was a 
calm, judicial mind, he had courteous manners, he was the 
soul of honour, and his ministry was " eminently evangelical, 
discriminating, faithful, and earnest." He reached high 
otficial position as Chairman of a District, and promised to 
reach the highest in our Conference, had his life been 
spared, but he was taken to his rest and reward in 1885. 
Mr. Davies died in 1880. 

The limit of space forbids our detailing the further pro- 
gress of Methodism in these parts. The Avoca portion had 
been separated from that which was afterwards called 
the Carisbrook Circuit, and was made a distinct Circuit 
in 1860. It has had for its Ministers— Messrs. Worth, 
Inglis, Currey, Vickers, Francis Fitchett, H. Greenwood, 
Ralph Brown, J. A. Marsland, D. S. Lindsay, and others. 
It extended to St. Arnaud, but after that was excised, 
it still formed a compact Circuit, which reports a strength 
at this day of 8 Churches, 159 members, and about 1000 
adherents. Some portions of the Circuit are pleasant 
and picturesque. It is a snug vineyard of the Lord. 
The remaining section of this once wide Circuit grew 
apace, until in 1872 it was formed into two Circuits, 
the Maryborough, and the Talbot and Amherst. The former 
has continued a flourishing Circuit, under the care of Messrs. 
Dyson, Catterall, Annear, Bennett, Lancaster, and others, 
but the latter has been a weak and struggling Circuit, 
although it has had the fostering care of able Ministers, 
such as — Rev. Messrs. Ironside, Turner, James W. Tuck- 
iield, and H. K. Hutchison. To day, Maryborough Circuit 
has about 200 members, l)ut Talbot only 88. Yet in both 
Circuits are a people who are earnest and willing, and 
present fair samples of country Methodism. The Rev. 
Richard Fitcher had notable success and popularity in the 
Maryborough Circuit. Messrs. Burdess, Medley, Mason, 
and others have been faithful Laymen in the Talbot Circuit. 




On Bendigo, as in many other places, the first to occupy 
the ground for Methodism, were the Local Preachers. 
South Australia gave to this part the Local Preacher 
who held the first public religious service here, and the 
Minister who first had ministerial charge of the district. 

That Local Preacher was James Jeffrey, who had been 
resident in South Australia, and had come over with others 
to Bendigo in search of gold. Jeffrey was a good sample of 
an earnest Methodist ; one that would not wait for ecclesias- 
tical orders and regular ordinances before he sought, by 
private counsel and public exhortation, to bless the souls of 
men around him, in making known to them the precious 
Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Methodists 
are trained to seek each other's good ; to be at it, and always 
at it ; to enter every open door of opportunity, or to make 
one where they can exercise their gifts. 

Mr. Jeff'rey, cast by the providence of God amongst 
a crowd of men, rough, sturdy, free in their manners, 
and to a large extent ungodly and profane in their 
character, regarded it as a fine field of usefulness. Jeffrey 
raised his Master's standard as a rallying point for the 
few pious men that were about, and to gain recruits 
for Immanuel's army from the thoughtless and money- 
grubbing multitude thai spread over the place. He stood 
on a stump near Golden Square, which was then part of 
the green, open forest, or bush, sang lustily a Methodist 
hymn, offered an earnest prayer, and preached a gospel 
sermon, no doubt in his quaint and homely style, which was 
one well calculated to enchain the attention of the class of 
men likely to have gathered round him. The people were 
quiet and orderly, the service impressive and lively, and 
the effect such as to encourage the pioneer to proceed in his 
gospel enterprise. This was in March, 1852. 


Services were conducted from Sabbath to Sabbath, 
mostly in the open-air, by Local Preachers and others : of 
whom maybe mentioned as coming to Jeffrey's help, or shortly 
after taking an active part in those early efforts — Messrs, 
Swann, Reynolds, Kitchen, Hibbert, Mowbray, Brookes, 
W. Rowe, W. Moyle, Wright, Brown, Gillett, and Bell. 
Reynolds and Gillett died at Sandhurst. Gillett was a 
wonderfully-gifted old man, and had considerable abilities 
as a preacher. He was eccentric, full of life and zeal, 
and rich in experience as a Christian. In England he 
had been Squire Brooke's Class Leader. Besides these, 
came then or later, Messrs. Fizelle, Nevinson, Catterall, and 
Burns, the former remaining as a local pillar in the Church, 
and the two latter having since done good service as Ministers 
of the Gospel in different Circuits in these colonies. The 
services, conducted on the whole with increasing interest 
and attendance — though subject to some fluctuations inci- 
dental to that early time — led to the purchase of a building 
(of wood) that had been used as a store, but, which, when 
removed, renovated, and cleansed, made a rather preten- 
tious place, for those days, in which to conduct divine 
worship. It cost £130, of which £50 were collected by Mr. 
Joshua Chapman during one morning. This first building used 
as a church was erected at the end of the year 1852, on the 
ground of the present school-house at Golden Square. I 
know not who was the first Leader of the Class here 
started, but I am credibly informed that Mr. Swann met 
the Class in the middle of the year 1852. It was afterwards 
entrusted to Mr. Catterall's care, and then Mr. Nevinson 
took chai'ge of it, and remained for a long while its leader. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Jeffrey had removed farther down the 
Bendigo Creek, to White Hills, and had pursued the same 
pioneer wsrk. Services were held by him and others, at 
first in the open-air, but afterwards in a log hut, covered 
with a tent or canvas covering. This had not been long 
commenced before opposition began. The keepers of "shan- 
ties" and the tipplers did not like the preaching in their 


neighbourhood. So one Friday night, when the wind was 
high and the weather boisterous, they cut the ropes of the 
tent covering of the ironbark hut, where preaching had been 
held. The covering was blown away, torn into ribbons and 
rendered useless. One of the ringleaders in this mischief 
was brought before the Commissioner and fined £5. And 
the fine inflicted was a check upon such proceedings, so that 
the worshippers suffered no further open molestation from 
them. Mr. Jeffrey was the leader of the first Class formed 
at the White Hills. 

Where were the Methodist ministers at this time ? The 
van of the Methodist itinerancy was led into these parts by 
Messrs. Symons and Chapman, who had been sent to the 
Mount Alexander Circuit. They arrived at Forest Creek 
in March, 18.52, and shortly afterwards Mr. Symon.s came 
to Bendigo on a visit of inspection The requirements of 
Forest Creek, however, and the very assiduous and self- 
denying labour given to it, as well as the personal illness of 
Mr. Symons, delayed another purposed visit till tlie month 
of May. Then he spent a Sabbath well filled up with 
ministerial labour. Starting at early morn from the hut of 
Messrs. Howard and Anthony Forster, with whom he had 
been a guest, he rode from the Camp Reserve to Kangaroo 
Flat, thence to Eaglehawk, where his first open-air service 
for the day was held ; the second was at Long Gully, and 
the third at Golden Gully ; after which he oliiciated at the 
burial of a man just deceased, who had been known to 
him formerly in South Australia. At this visit Mr. Symons 
met with many old acquaintances, and was received with 
open arms and earnest co-operation by members of the 
Methodist Church, and also by some of other religious bodies. 
Mr. Chapman had also by this time preached on the Sabbath 
at Bendigo, his first appointments on May 20th being at 
Ironbark iu the early part of the day, and at Golden Stjuare 
in the evening ; and thenceforth ministerial labours were 
given on the Sabbath and week day to the Wesley an con- 
gregations in this district, and the church's operations were 


organized and more vigorously carried on. The stay of 
Messrs. Symons and Chapman was brief, but they did good 
service as pioneers ; and on their departure Mr. Ourrey 
laboured for a considerable period, and he in turn was suc- 
ceeded by Mr. Raston, who w^as the first resident Minister 
and Superintendent of Sandhurst as a distinct Circuit. 

Under the leadership of these Ministers, Methodism had 
come to battle with sin, to make converts of sinners, and to 
nurture in godliness and practical piety all who had received 
the new life in Christ Jesus. Preaching in the open-air, in 
canvas tents, or more substantial buildings, her evangelists 
spoke plainly the gospel message, plied well the gospel 
motives, and spiritual power was furnished to them from 
above. They addressed either small companies of people, or 
masses of from 400 to 800, which frequently gathered 
round them. At times a few persons might be irreverent and 
listless ; but for the most part the general heed given to the 
Word would compare favourably with that of the established 
congregations of settled towns and cities, whilst the more 
fervid of the members, restrained by no cold and stately 
decorum of the place, were often loud in their ejaculations 
of prayer and ascriptions of praise. Occasional instances 
of conversion followed ; some even " who came to scoff, 
remained to pray," and a cumulative power of religious 
earnestness was gathering which at length found notable 
manifestations in a genuine and extensive revival which 
took place at White Hills in the winter of 1853. Mr. 
Fizelle, a veteran in the service, who has resided at White 
Hills since May 1853, writes: — "It was at White Hills 
that I saw the first ' Cornish conversion,' in the person of 
Aaron Cole. A tall, strongly-built, man, smitten by the 
Word of God, he came forward in the meeting and fell flat 
on the gravel floor, as if he had been shot. He groaned through 
the disquietude of his soul, but soon found the Divine peace, 
and then jumped up and leaped over seats, and kissed and 
snouted, so as to frighten some of us who had never seen it 
after this fashion. It reminded me of the Psalmist's word. 


* clap your hands all ye people, shout unto God with the 
voice of triumph.' " This is not quoted as a sample of every 
conversion, but some type of what frequently occurred 
amongst the excitable and demonstrative Cornishmen, 

Mr. Raston, writing in the December following, says of 
this revival — " Some hundreds were converted to God. Many 
have 1 heard to thank God that on these goldfields they 
obtained the pearl of great price, more to be valued than all 
the gold in the universe." Here, again, the value of lay agency 
appeared, for it was mainly by official laymen and private 
members that the services were carried on, and, under God, 
this revival was chiefly due to their zeal and piety. 

The usual concomitants of a revival were there ; more 
fervent and believing prayer, greater spiritual power in the 
services, a more active piety in the members, their religious 
life and sensibilities greatly quickened and intensified, and 
exultant joy over the sanctification of believers and the 
conversion of sinners. The Rev. T. Raston arrived oppor- 
tunely in August to foster the work thus auspiciously 
begun, and he was able to record that during the four 
months following there were " many additions to the 
Society, and many signal conversions to God, and many had 
become members who had previously belonged to no branch 
of the Church of Christ ; not a week passed without conver- 
sions to God. ' 

Of the labourers in this Revival, John James, E.sq. 
M.L.A., gives this interesting account : — "The writer cer- 
tainly has no notes, therefore has to fall back upon what 
memory furnishes. But as [ was more a participator in the 
benefits than a sharer of the toil, I can speak more freely. 
'There were giants in those days,' but I was not one of them. 

This chronicle will simply deal with the work, and some 
of the workers, of the Church at the Seventh White Hill, 
during the winter of the above-named year — i.e., 1853. 

About four months was all the time I spent there ; but 
these months gave a tone and direction to many lives which 
has endeared to them the men who were God's agents in 



bringing about the change ; and the ties of affection then 
formed will never be broken. 

I will not undertake to say who among these noble men 
is entitled to rank first in the order of merit ; but William 
Moyle must not be left until the last. He has long since 
gone to his reward, which, for the work he did on the gold- 
fields alone, is not inconsiderable. He could launch out in 
denunciation of sin, he could not only advise, but lead the 
way in the path of virtue and honour, or he could with the 
stone in the sling penetrate the joints of the harness which 
encased sinners and bring them down literally in the dust, 
where, after the word had taken effect, they would tell the 
Lord their trouble, and He would come and heal them. (Mr. 
Fizelle said of him : — ' A simple-minded man, a beautiful 
character, eloquent and gifted as a preacher.') Good Father 
Moyle was always richer in grace than in gold ; but having 
done his best to succeed he did not murmur. He left Ben- 
digo for Ballarat in 1853, where he again trumpeted forth 
the alarm to the godless and offered Christ to the penitent ; 
but soon left for South Australia, wheie he v^as called 
home. ' The chamber where' this ' good man met his fate' 
was a place of glory, for the angels of God came down 
where he lay and showed themselves to him. It was so 
real (to him) that he called his daughter who was his nurse, 
and said, 'Mary, they are here ; look at them"; and she 
said, 'Whatl father.' He replied, 'Oh, the angels have 
come ; don't you see them T' Then they took him from the 
vestibule to the inner court, where, doubtless, he has wel- 
comed many a fellow-labourer in the old Bendigo campaign. 
T think no one will be found to disagree with the order 
of names when I mention in such close conjunction with 
Father Moyle, James, or ' Jimmy' Jeffrey. 

Though a comic character, he was a sort of Barnabas, 
full of the Holy Ghost and of faith.' ' The sword of the 
Spirit, which is the Word of God,' was as real to him as his 
own life. He accepted that weapon, and sought no other ; 
but he had a way in wielding it all his own. He never forgot 


what he was before the grace of God, which bringeth salva- 
tion, came to him ; and having experienced both bondage 
and liberty, he boldly avowed, ' No book is like the Bible,' 
with a freedom and heartiness, and often with such quaint- 
ness that smiles and tears would commingle. The first time 
1 heard' Jimmy' was in April or May, 1853, in the old dark 
tent that stood on the left of the road going from the camp 
down the flat. I don't remember the text, but I remember 
how 'Jimmy' had hold of my attention. Then he broke 
forth in praise to God for deliverance from sin — ' Bless the 
Lord, how happy I am'; and with the next breath most 
<}uaintly said — 'How do you feel, brother, just behind the 
third button of the waistcoat ?' But though humorous, he 
Jiever trifled. During the revival of that winter he threw 
his whole soul into the work, and is entitled to great credit. 
He did not * settle' there ; but having made a little money 
at digging, went to New Zealand and tried farming. He 
failed, came back to Victoria, and about 1855 or 1856 took 
up his quarters at Ballarat, broken down in pocket, or, as 
he called it at a meeting at Mount Pleasant, 'shigged.* 
But, like Paul, ' none of these things moved' him. He died 
in harness a short time since in South Australia. 

William Rowe was an earnest, intelligent preacher, of 
whom I have heard nothing since I left Bendigo. He came 
over from New Zealand, where he had been ' holding forth 
the Word of Life' for several years, and I think he returned 
there. Many remember him wi'h pleasure as a chaste 
expositor of the truth of God. 

Of the living much might be said. The standard being 
raised, a goodly number of the standard-bearers went forth 
to other fields to gain further conquests. Among the more 
prominent of those who are still with us are — Matthew 
Morgan, of Ballarat ; J. D. Mowbray, of Melbourne ; and 
George Fizelle, of Sandhurst. The latter brother remains 
at the same old spot, like a faithful sentinel guarding the 
old camp, and in every possible v^a.y devoting himself to the 
Church's interest. 


Brother Mowbray has continued to this day, and both in 
the Church and in State continues to do work of the 
greatest importance. I know much less of him than of the 
other; but tome, in the days of my youthful manhood, 
he was a teacher in the pulpit ; and though young him- 
self then, his public utterances, and the force of his 
example, influenced and helped to give direction to ray 
subsequent course. 

Brother Morgan is a very modest man, and would blame 
me for inserting a panegyric in his praise. But a word, 
please, in the interest of this subject, and for the encourage- 
ment of young men struggling upwards in the same cause. 
He was an enthusiast. Night after night, during these 
winter months, in his digger's blue blouse, he was in that 
tent labouring to bring souls to Christ as though the fate of 
the world depended on his efforts. That his and the efforts 
of others were successful, everybody who has studied 
Methodism on the goldfields knows ', but to what extent is 
only known to God. 

Of the men who were brought to Christ I cannot now 
speak ; but will conclude by stating that the gathering 
together of these men at the Seventh White Hill in 1853 
was one of God's plans for establishing His Church on a firm 
basis. Men had come from all parts of the world to seek 
gold, with the intention of speedily returning laden with it. 
Hundreds of Christians in their wild haste had grown cold 
at heart ; while thousands, in the flush of prosperity, 
rushed headlong into vices that, unless checked, must have 
ruined body and soul. Christian men in their individual 
capacity found it hard work to maintain their integrity in 
the teeth of the force of dissipation that raged and swayed 
the masses. But ' the Lord' who ' hath His way in the whirl- 
wind and in the storm,' had also a way in the diggings, and 
He brought these veteran fathers, and the more numerous 
young men of the princes of His Israel together, where He 
blessed them, and strengthened them, and where they entered 
into a compact to prosecute the commission they had received. 


In due course God scattered them, sending many away, but 
keeping a few there. But the wisdom of God is justified 
by the results which we already see and enjoy. The 
standard of the cross waves in every goldfield of our land, 
numbers have steadily increased, ' and God, even our own 
God shall bless us ; God shall bless us, and all the ends of 
the earth shall fear Him.' " 

The revived Church was greatly cheered by (shall we call 
it T) the episcopal visit of the Rev. Robert Young at 
Christmas, 1853. He was at this time on a tour of inspec- 
tion amongst the Australian and adjacent Missionary 
Churches preparatory to their formation by the Home 
Connexion into a distinct but affiliated Conference for this 
Southern world. He paid a visit to Bendigo, and then 
•hurried on in his world-wide tour. But that visit was a 
memorable occasion of lively interest and spiritual profit 
to the Wesleyan Church, and we gather, also, of considerable 
satisfaction to himself. 

Mr. Young attended tlie Quarterly Meeting, in which 
he remarked the piety, zeal, intelligence, and liberality of 
its members ; was at a tea meeting at "NVliite Hills, plenti- 
fully supplied with saflVon cake, and got up in the best 
Cornish style ; visited the diggers, and saw the several 
operations for procuring the gold ; made acquaintance with 
ferocious files, whose torments through one night surpassed 
all his former experiences in warmer climes ; made his 
observations oil men and things ; baptized five children ; 
preached a sermon ; delivered an address which lasted an 
hour and a half, recounting the chief incidents in his then 
recent visit to Polynesia ; and bade adieu to Bendigo and 
his many friends there upon December 28th, 1853. The 
Rev. W. Butters, then Chairman of the Victoria District, 
accompanied Mr. Young on tliis visit. 

What was Methodism doing at this period for Sandhurst 
proper and Eaglehawk ? We find tliat services were first 
held at Sandhurst, nigh to View Point or Pall Mall, on 
what was then called Commissioner's Flat, in the open-air 


in 1852 ; that occasional services wei'e held in Mr. Fraser's 
store when in course of erection, which stood near the 
junction of Bridge and M'Crae-streets ; that in the begin- 
ning of 1853 a very large canvas tent formed the Church, 
which stood near the site occupied at present by the 
Freemasons' Hotel, and afterwards near or on the ground 
occupied by the Wesleyan Parsonage ; and that by the 
time of Mr. Young's visit the proposition of a good-sized 
Chapel, either of wood or stone, had been mooted and 
discussed, and was likely to be taken in hand as soon as 
land could be obtained from the Government. Also, that 
worship was held first in the open bush, then in a tent or 
slab place at the head of Eaglehawk, not far from the 
present St. Mungo claim ; and secondly, at Sailors' Gully, 
in the open-air. Afterwards it was deemed desirable to 
amalgamate the two causes, and have a central building, 
which was accordingly put up on the site of the present 
Church. Before this took place, however, a temporary 
Church had been built at Sailors' Gully, the projection of 
which was on this wise: — After preaching, one Sabbath 
afternoon, by Mr. Raston at Sailors' Gully, a brief con- 
sultation was held by a few friends, which led to the 
conclusion that they would have a smaller Church than the 
one which they had been using, for they had been wor- 
shipping 'neath the blue vault of heaven, with many 
noble trees around, which seemed as stately pillars of 
their Church, and reminding them that " the groves were 
God's first temples." Accordingly, pledges of assistance 
were given, which subsequently were largely added to : 
and time, energy, labour, good-will, and these contribu- 
tions making a goodly amount, speedily brought about 
a tangible result in the erection of the Sailors' Gully Wes- 
leyan Church, 

Thus, by the end of 1853, as outward evidences of the 
enterprise and usefulness of the Wesleyans, 5 Churches 
had been erected — 1 of wood and 4 of canvas — of these 
one had cost £250. 4 Sabbath schools were in full opera- 


tion, conducted bv 24 earnest and painstaking teachers, and 
having 170 scholars, 2 Day schools had been established — 
1 at White Hills and the other at Golden Square — 
together numbering 120 scholars, whose efficiency was such 
that when Governor Hotham visited Bendigo in Septen-ber, 
1854r, he gave utterance to his conviction that throughout 
the goldfields which he had visited the Weslevans were 
prominent in the great work of edacation, and were effecting 
more than any other Church. 

At the first Local Preachers' meeting, held after the arrival 
of the Rev, Mr. Raston, in the Wesleyan Church, Sand- 
hurst, Friday, September 2nd, 18-53, the names of preachers 
reported on the Circuit Plan were : — Hutchens, BuraU, 
Thomas, Rowe, Morgan, Hibberd, Jeflrey, Mowbray, 
Kitchen, Lucas, Moyle, Bawden, Merry, Davis, Brown, 
Fizelle, Pascoe, BeU, ; and the preaching places — Golden 
Gully, White Hills, Commissioners Camp, Eaglehawk 
Gully, Fourth White Hills, and Long Gully. This 
latter was an experiment which was, for the time, a 
comparative failure. At the Quarterly Meeting held on 
September 9th, the names of Xevinson and Gubbins, with 
several of those on the Local Preachers' List appear amongst 
the officials in attendance. Messrs. BuraU and Ifevinson 
were appointed Circuit Stewards. Another Quarterly 
Meeting was held on September 27th, at which the 31inister's 
salary was fixed at £400 per anntun, and £70 were paid to 
Mr. Burall for his expenses in attending, at the request of 
the White Hills' society, the annual District Meeting in 
Geelong. The members were then — Golden Gully, Class of 
Mr. Ne Vinson, 28 : White Hills, Classes of Messrs, Jeffrey, 
26 ; Burall, 19 ; Rowe, 20 ; Kitchen, 25. Sandhurst, :SLc. 
Gubbins' Class, 14. Back Creek, Mr. Moyle's, 41. The 
fijst ^linister s residence was put up in October to Decem- 
ber, 18-53. 

We find the first mention of Brother Whyman's name as 
a Class Leader in December, 1854. He has remained 
staunch, true, beloved to this day, one of the faithful three 


who have stood by the White Hills cause from the early 
days. The others being Brothers Fizelle and Trahair. 

In October, 1853, 200 members were meeting in Class, 
but these had been reduced to 60 at the Christmas follo-ft-ing, 
o-vring to the rush to other fields. This indicates one great 
difficulty of many amidst which the work of Gk>d was carried 
on and sustained. The fluctuations incident to the gold- 
fields were great. The work was amongst a strange, 
promiscuotis, and migratory population. The pastoral over- 
sight was of a number of members and adherents who for 
the most part passed to and fro in individual wanderings, 
or in great waves of movement. The best laid schemes 
might thus be completely overturned. Leaders, Local 
Preachers, meml>ers, congregations, might for the most part 
be gone ere very promising plans cotdd be executed. It needed 
a prudent steersman to keep the vessel from the shallows or 
rocks of disaster, for the most sagacious and far-seeing 
could scarcely tell what was ahead ; and we adore the 
goodness of God, that to so great a degree wisdom was 
given to those at the helm. They were '* men of under- 
standing to know the times." They were wise builders, and 
by them, slowly and warily, yet with good heart and hope, 
the foundations of the Methodist cause were laid amongst 
this young community. 

There were difficulties for the members also in the right 
conduct of their temporal affairs and the maintenance of 
their piety. Iniiuences, unfriendly to piety, were found in 
the contagion of the gold fever — its excitement tending to 
neutralize religious feeling in its intensity and eagerness ; 
in the Aricissitudes of gold-digging — its sudden rises to 
fortune, or depr^sion into poveity. the elation of mind 
upon a lucky find, or rack under disappointing labour ; and 
in the uncertain home and vagrant life marking that time. 
Some, unhappily, gave way under the strain put upon their 
<yood piinciples. others were made hardy veterans thereby. 
One great hindrance to personal piety was often the lack of 
a place for private devotion. Under difficulties the Word 


of God was read, or prayer offered in private. But ' where 
there is a will there is a way," and where there is a wor- 
shipping heart it will find some Bethel which shall be to the 
wayfai'er " the house of God and the gate of heaven."' 

We have known soldiers who knelt at their bedside or 
in their bivouac for prayer when noisy companions sur- 
rounded, some of whom would pull them along the ground 
by the legs, or the hair of the head, to interrupt their 
devotion. We have known a ship's cook go behind the 
oakum heap for a place of prayer. The closet for devotion 
of anotlier seaman was on the mainyard, or in the shrouds. 
We have known diggers, who had no privacy in the tent 
which two or three uncongenial spirits occupied, to sit on a 
log, or kneel behind a busli for the soul's quiet meditation 
and worship of God. Drivers of horse-teams on the roads 
have assembled at the camp fire with their passengers, and 
joined in family prayer. A man who became an earnest Local 
Preacher in the Western District, was recovered from a 
backsliding state by overhearing a bullock-driver at his 
evening devotion when he had camped for the night. And 
could we tell the private history of scores of Methodist 
diggers in the early days, we should have to relate many 
such incidents and methods of maintaining the religious life 
and communion with God. 

Mr. Raston was aided by the kindly advice and timely 
visits of the Rev. Mr. Draper, who, in 1855, became the 
Chairman of the Victoria District. We gather from his 
life, written by Mr. Symons, an extended reference to a 
visit made by liim to Sandhurst in August, 1855, and an 
incidental notice of one in October, 185G. In that of 1855 
Mr. Draper records his acquaintance formed with Messrs. 
Allingham, Hollis, and Pease, local pillars of the Church in 
that day, and the former two remaining to the present, 
his great enjoyment in the religious service on the Sabbath 
and the two following days, and his aiding in other move- 
ments, such as a bazaar and tea meeting, which greatly 
ausmaented the funds of the Church. 


Mr. Raston had the spirit of a pioneer strong within 
him. During his stay in the Circuit, which ended in 
March, 1857, services were commenced — in addition to 
places already named — at Kangaroo Flat (September, 18-54), 
Lockwood (same date), Spring Creek, Epsom (July, 1856), 
and California Hill (January, 1857). Usually these began 
with open-air services, then were continued by tent or 
cottage preaching, and subsequently a church of wood, plain 
but serviceable, was secured. This was the order of things 
at California Hill, where services were established mainly 
through the efforts of Mr. Falder. He mentions in his diary 
that he commenced preaching in his own house, November 
23rd, 1856, a week afterwards he began the first Class, four 
persons entering their names. About this time Mr. John 
Dawborn joined our Church. He became a Minister of 
the Anglican Church. Messrs. Andrew Inglis and Uriah 
Coombs had, during this period, been called on to exercise 
their gifts in preaching, and were the first raised up by the 
Churches of Sandhurst Methodism, who, afterwards, were 
called into the regular Ministry. Mr. Inglis has been for 
years an earnest, diligent, and successful Wesleyan Minister, 
and Mr. Coombs was the esteemed and evangelical pastor of 
the Congregationalist Church at Warrnambool, but is now 
in Tasmania. Mr. Raston was the forerunner of Mr. Dare, 
and the regime and labour of the one served to introduce 
those of the other. 

Mr. Dare was one of the most popular preachers of 
the connexion. He was a kind of Hercules in the cradle, 
of giant strength from the beginning of his ministerial 
career ; but if at any time he could be said to be in the 
prime of his powers, and the first vigor of his mission, it 
was while at Bei^igo 

His ministry attracted many adherents of other Churches, 
and gained the ear largely of the public outside the 
Methodist pale ; but there was no proselytism in his pro- 
ceeding — no petty arts to steal away the sheep of other 
flocks. That was utterly beneath him. AYe are not aware of 


any communicant of another Church, possessed of li\'ing 
piety, that was then drafted into our Church ; and the 
many who professed to belong to other religious bodies, 
but were occasional or stated hearers, for the most part 
returned to their own Churches afterwards. Mr. Robert 
Lisle, and some others who had aforetime been Pres- 
byterians, or of the Church of England, in sentiment 
and form of worship, became firm and staunch Methodists, 
because they had been converted to God through Mr. 
Dare's instrumentality. But his powerful preaching told 
with great and good and lasting effect upon his Methodist 
audiences. The Church members entered on higher Chris- 
tian experience, and put forth a greater missionary zeal and 
activity. His sermons often produced a result among hard- 
hearted sinners as does a blast in a quarry. They separated 
by one bold stroke or mighty effort a number from the mass 
of the inert and ungodly, and prepared them for the hand 
of the heavenly workman, who trimmed them into shape 
and beauty, and gave them to occupy a fitting and useful 
place in the temple of the Lord. The drunkard became 
sober, the vicious virtuous, while rough and formerly blas- 
pheming men began to sing from renewed hearts and 
cleansed lips the high praises of God. 

Soon the revived religious interest spread, so that in 
September, 1857, Mr. Dare was able thankfully to record 
that eighty conversions had taken place, of whom not more 
than four or five were under twenty years of age. 

One immediate outcome of the revival whioh we men- 
tioned was that at California Hill, a spacious Church, said 
to have been in the Gothic style, and costing £430, had 
been erected and opened by September, 1857, and in that 
month of the following year there was a flourishing society, 
a crowded congregation, a Sabbath school numbering ninety, 
and a Day school of sixty children. 

Before 1857, the first stone building used for worship 
had been erected in Sandhurst. The membership there was 
small, and so it continued for several years ; but the con- 



gregation rapidly increased in that year, so that it became 
necessary to add a gallery at the end of the building, 
which, when done, made one half of the present one 
known as the Forest-street School house, and which, to give 
some idea of the costliness of building at that time, repre- 
sented an outlay of over £2600. We would rather have 
the money than the building. Messrs. Harkness, Featonby, 
and Willan arrived about this time. They have been very 
active members of the Church as Local Preachers and 
Stewards. Mr. Harkness has been Mayor of the City of 
Sandhurst ; Mr. Willan Mayor of the Borough of Eagle, 
hawk Mr. Featonby, devoted, liberal, and highly esteemed, 
passed to his heavenly reward on July 4th, 1886. 

The work extended, so that the services of a second 
Minister were needed, and the Rev. Mr Dubourg was 
appointed in 1858, and a third Minister, in the person of 
the Rev. Mr. Atkin, came in 1859. Mr. Dubourg gave 
two years of very useful labour to the Circuit. New 
places were occupied, and fresh labourers were raised 
up. Long Gully was again a preaching station, and, though 
feeble at first, yet through the care of Messrs Stevens, 
Matthews, and others, it gradually rose into importance and 
strength. Big Hill was supplied with services, in order to 
benefit the labourers and others engaged in excavating the 
tunnel, and in the formation of the railway line. A small 
Chapel was opened in February, 1859, and, though subse- 
quently the Chapel was sold, and the services were 
given up, they had produced valuable results. One 
or two members, now at Kangaroo Flat, were there 
converted, and so was Mr. Bogle, who became a Wes 
leyan Minister in South Australia. Mr. Henry Baker, 
the respected and pious Wesleyan Minister, passed through 
his probationary period as a Local Preacher at this 
time. Mr. West was given his first appointment, and, 
since, he has graduated in the Local Preachers' ranks 
the Congregational College and to a respected Minister 
of this latter body. On Mr. Dare's leaving in March, 1860, 


the members numbered 394, with 22 on trial. The 
great event in Church building during Mr. Dare's stay 
was the new Church at Golden Square. This was of 
larger size, and had more architectural pretensions and 
embellishments than any Wesleyan Church then in the 
Circuit ; and consequently, as it was built in what were still 
" dear times," and some trouble and expense were occasioned 
by failure of contractors, it cost a large sum of money. 
Great pecuniary help was received from the liberality of Mr. 
Allingham and a group of claimholders, who held the 
Union claim — Messi's. Lisle, Nevinson, Porter, Tongue, and 
Kenny ; and the financial burdens of the undertaking were 
nobly borne by the trustees and congregation. 

The foundation-stone was laid on April 19th, 1859, by 
Mr. Draper, and the Church was opened by dedicatory 
services, conducted by the same excellent Minister in the 
December of the same year. He was greatly delighted 
with the devout and liberal spirit of the people ; with the 
large congregations attending the opening services ; with 
the amount of the collections, which came to the munificent 
sum of £262 ; and with the tine prospects appearing in this 
centre of the mining population for the spread of religion. 
So far as I can learn, Mr. Draper paid only two visits to 
Sandhui'st, subsequently to this, for religious purposes. He 
continued at the head of Methodist atifairs in this colony, 
labouring most assiduously and prudently for their advance- 
ment, till March, 1865, when he departed for England, 
never more to return to these shores. The public know 
the tragic scene which closed his long and useful life. The 
foundering of the ill-fated London is an event yet fresh 
in the memory, still piercing the heart. 

The period up to the time of Mr. Dare's departure we 
regard as the pioneer one in Sandhurst Methodism. The 
foundations had been laid and some of the superstructure 
built by skilful and diligent hands and earnest minds ; 
afterwards the building was to be carried on by other good 
men and true. 


The Rev. James Bickford was the successor of Mr. Dare 
in the superintendency. He visited Echuca with tlie pur- 
pose of planting the Methodist Church in that place ; and 
his valuable coadjutor, Mr. Hart, paid several visits with 
the same object, and extended his pastoral care and journeys 
to Inglewood also. Both places are now at the head of 
growing Circuits. Mr. Bickford marshalled his forces well, 
and kept the varied movements and agents of the Church 
in excellent work. 

In the first attempts to reach the outside and non-church- 
going multitude of Sandhurst by theatre-preaching, he 
took a prominent part, holding the first of a series of 
services on July 29th, 1860; and in promoting philan- 
thropic and Christian objects he was ready for every good 
word and work. Towards the close of his labours in the 
Circuit he could record that " his trials had been compara- 
tively few, and the mercies had been many ; souls had been 
saved, and God had been glorified." 

April, 1861, found the Rev. George Daniel transferred 
to Sandhurst from Creswick, as the superintendent in Mr. 
Bickford's room, and his regime was signalized by enterpris- 
ing and prosperous efforts in the building of Churches. The 
Church at Eaglehawk forming the front part of the present 
one was then erected, and has been the place of worship for 
some years of a lively and prosperous society. Our Cornish 
friends muster strongly in the congregation ; and as might 
be expected from such large element in its composition, the 
singing is hearty and the style of worship demonstrative. 
Revivals have been frequent, but declensions of the young 
converts rather numerous, and this notwithstanding that 
the Church members have been under the care of some 
very diligent, pious, and devoted Leaders. Still the net 
gain will compare favourably with any society in the Circuit, 
and the holy lives of many, as well as the happy or peaceful 
deaths of not a few, show that religion is an elevating and 
sanctifying power in the hearts of the greater number in 
this society. 


The present Forest-street Church was at this time built 
under the auspices and with the aid of great men and good 
men. The foundation-stone was laid by His Excellency 
Governor Barkly, several of the civic dignatories being 
present : and at the subsequent public meeting the Hon. J. 
P. Fawkner, the grey father of Victorian society, and 
pioneer of this colony, presided. Speeches on the occasion 
were also given by the Rev. "W. Butters, one of the fathers 
of Victorian Methodism ; the Rev. W. Hill, since so well 
known amongst, and so deeply lamented by the Sandhurst 
people ; the Rev. G. Daniel, the superintendent of the 
Circuit, and by others. This meeting was largely attended, 
and it was announced that £650 had been gathered 
to meet the outlay on the building. The Church was 
opened by sermons from Ministers of note in this and 
other lands — the Rev. W. Taylor, of California, who 
continued religious services during a whole week ; and 
the Rev. J. Dare, who officiated on the second Sunday. 
This dedication was eminently signalized by what Method- 
ists love best and crave most, — the crowning blessing on 
their work and worship — the conversion of sinners and the 
sanctitication of believers. It was computed that nearly 
one hundred persons, broken-hearted on account of their 
past transgressions, found the healing and saving mercy of 
God during the eight or ten days of special services. From 
this time the Sandhurst congregation increased, until it 
became the largest in the Wesleyan Circuit, and is believed 
to be at the present the most numerous Protestant congre- 
gation in the Bendigo district. 

Able men have tilled its pulpit, as the Rev. Thomas 
James and the Rev. William Hill, who (have had the pas- 
toral charge of Forest-street in succession to Mr. Daniel,) 
were remarkable for the intellectual force of their 
sermons, and for the nervous or attractive style of their 
pulpit oratory. 

Juniors assisting these superintendents were stationed 
at Golden Square — Mr. Worth, a man of genial spirit and 


quiet labour ; Mr. Lane, whose earnest, incisive, lively public 
discourses were made a great blessing unto many, and the 
means of conversions ; and Mr. Edwin I. Watkin, who 
will always live in the affectionate remembrance of the 
people amongst whom he was stationed. He has a fertile 
mind and retentive memory, and is an adept at composition, 
which makes him very ready in pulpit and platform exer- 
cises. His addresses are full of vigorous thought, and his 
delivery has much of effectiveness, especially when speaking 
from the platform, where he reigns supreme in striking, 
humorous anecdotes. He is social, diligent, a good companion, 
a faithful colleague, and an earnest Minister of Christ. 

The extension of the borders of the Circuit to farming 
districts such as Emu Creek, Marong, and Shelbourne, took 
place under the pastorate of Messrs. Daniel and James, as 
also to the minii:ig district of Lower Huntly, where, after 
one or two attempts, Methodism Avas established through 
the efficient support of Messrs. W. Clay, Thompson, and 
others. New Churches at Long Gully, California Hill, and 
at White Hills (the fourth in succession erected there — the 
present one is the fifth), were built during the superin- 
tendency of Mr. James. Messrs. Swift and Pitcher were 
at this period preparing themselves for the Christian 
ministry. Mr. Fizelle assisted for a while in working the 
Circuit during the latter part of Mr. W. Hill's stay. Mr. 
Somerville has been a faithful and active servant of the 
Church at Strathtieldsaye, where are a healthy society and 
a neat Church. 

The Rev. W. Taylor paid a second visit to the Circuit 
in May, 1864, officiating on the occasion of the re-opening 
of Golden Square Church, after many internal improve- 
ments had been made. The house of prayer was again the 
spiritual birth-place of precious souls. This society has been 
second to none for its noble staff of Leaders, for its men of 
intelligence, influence, and piety, and the loving concord 
and unity with which Pastors, Leaders, and members have 
co-operated in Christian work. 


From the first there has been a steady increase of mem- 
bers and attendants at worship, save only when the exodus 
to New Zealand drafted off a large number of miners from 
the neighbourhood. 

Mr. Henry Hooper was a good example of the class 
of men, noble, pious, devoted, faithful, with which this 
society has been blessed. His heart was wrapped up in 
this revival work, and greatly rejoiced over the extension 
of Christ's kingdom amongst his neighbours. Strong men 
wept, the Church made great lamentation, the whole neigh- 
bourhood mourned, when it was known that he had been 
suddenly killed in a mine. This sad event took place in 
January, ltS65. 

Messrs. Hill and Watkin commenced the Chinese Mis- 
sion at Sandhurst by the employment in evangelizing 
agency of James Moy Ling, a Christian, who was for years 
an inmate of Mr. Hill's household. These Ministers 
laboured diligently to make the first visit of Mr. Matthew 
Burnett the evangelist, and his singular but devoted efforts, 
a success in the salvation of precious souls, and they 
rejoiced with the joy of harvest at the ingathering to 
the Church at that time and during the period of their 
stay in the Circuit, the numbers increasing during their 
pastorate from 503 to 639 members, and 209 on trial. 
But their joy (Mr. Hill's especially) at the prosperity 
of God's cause was tempered by that my.sterious bereave- 
ment which befel him in the sudden removal of Mrs. 
Hill. This excellent lady had gone into the work of 
revivals with great fervour of spirit ; but the exciting toil 
was too much for the weak bodily frame. The hand of 
death struck her down when her soul was most given up to 
the Lord and His work, and, no doubt, ripest for heaven. 
But a bereaved husband and family and a mourning Church 
felt her loss keenly ; and, alas ! that Church was soon again 
to groan in trouble and bereavement, when, a few short 
months after, Mr. Hill fell by the assassin's hand at Pent- 
ridce Stockade. 


Tracing to later dates the history of Sandhurst Method- 
ism, we record a great increase in all the departments of 
Methodistic influence and enterprise in the years 1870 and 
1871. Rev. W. P.Wells was the superintendent, Rev. W, 
L. Blamires the second Minister, and the Revs. C. Lancaster, 
D. O'Donnell, C. P. Thomas and A. Brown, the junior 
Ministers during Mr. Wells' management. Several Churches 
were enlarged, or new ones built in lieu of the old ; the 
societies in town and country greatly advanced, so that the 
Church membership was reported at 1080 ; between 5000 
and 6000 people were adherents of Methodism, and a still 
larger number influenced thereby, and at no period have the 
several departments of the Lord's work been in greater 
vigour and prosperity. The Churches at Golden Squai-e, 
California Hill, and Long Gully, spacious and elegant, were 
erected between 1870 and 1876. 

Eminent Ministers filled the superintendency in these and 
after years. Rev. J. G. INIillard, possessed of a pleasing, melli- 
fluous style of oratory ; Rev. H. Bath, with a vigorous mind, 
giving masterly discourses ; Rev, W. H. Fitchett, B.A., 
clever, brilliant, sanguine, enterprising ; Rev. E. S. Bick- 
ford, an active and indefatigable worker ; Rev Joseph 
Waterhouse, who had given but one Sabbath's service to 
the Circuit, when his valuable life and labours were brought 
to an untimely end in the wreck of the Tararua ; the Rev. 
R. C. Flockart, cheery, genial, a staunch Methodist, an 
earnest Scotchman ; and the Rev. W. L. Blamires, who has 
spent a second term of three years labour in this Circuit. 
The number of members advanced from 1013 in September, 
1883, to 1206 in September, 188-5, but since that date has 
somewhat declined. The Revs. John Harcourt, Thomas 
James, and Spencer Williams have been efiicient Superin- 
tendents at Golden Square. Other valued Ministers in the 
Circuit have been— Revs. E. W. Nye, P. R. C. Ussher, 
J. H. Ingham, Arthur PoAvell, John S. Greer, John 
Cowperthwaite, and J. P. M'Cann. Prominent Laymen 
are— Mr. M. Thomas, Mr. J. Ellis, Mr. J. Bamford, Mr. 


C. Perry, and others. The Church has had no more 
faithful servant, noble, liberal, pious, the same in the sun- 
shine and storm, in wealthy and in adverse circumstances, 
than Mr. Richard Allingham, now very near to his heavenly 
home. In this Jubilee year, this Circuit, in point of numbers, 
and some other facts and items indicating a prosperous 
Circuit, is the premier one of the Southern world. (See 
also " Former Days of Methodism in the Sandhurst Circuit" 
by the Rev. W. L. Blamires.) 



The travels of the Minister, Rev. S. Waterhouse, who acted 
as Bush Missionary prior to the era of the goldfields 
had extended to the flourishing district of Kyneton. 
A Church was opened in 1855, but it was not finished 
at the time of the Rev. D. J. Draper's first visit to the 
town in August of that year. The Rev. John Mewton 
accompanied him. Mr. Draper found Mr. Furphy as 
Church Steward and Treasurer, and Mr. G. W. Johnston as 
an active member or adherent. He left Mr. Mewton as 
the resident Minister, when he journeyed onward to Castle- 
maine. 35 Church members were reported to the Conference 
of 1856. Rev. Henry Chester came in March, 1856, in 
succession to Mr. Mewton, and the Rev. John Catterall was 
appointed in the following year. Under their ministra- 
tions the work of the Lord extended in town and country, 
services being established in Taradale and Tylden by the 
year 1857, and in the direction of Blackwood about the 
same time. In Kyneton, a good parsonage, costing £700, 
was erected in 1856, the Church was lengthened by 20 feet 
in 1857, and numerical and financial prosperity had set in. 
After much inconvenience had been endured for want of 


a suitable building at Taradale, the friends determined in 
1859 to erect a Church, which was accordingly done at a 
cost of £420. The opening services w^ere on October 9th 
and 10th of that year. The society increased, as the neigh- 
bourhood had considerable mining prosperity for some years, 
until in January, 1865, a new Church superseded the older 
structure. It is the present neat Church so pleasantly 
situate on a low spur of the range which forms the back 
ground to this picturesque town of Taradale. Other places 
were, in these years, occupied as preaching appointments, 
and eventually Churches were erected — At Tylden, of wood, 
at Malmsbury, of stone, at Blue Mountain, of wood (Septem- 
ber, 1863.) At Newham, some active, intelligent, and 
earnest Laymen had reinforced the staff of Local Preachers. 
Mr. John Thrum, who had been for a short time in the 
Wesleyan Ministry in South Australia, was most acceptable 
in his pulpit exercises ; and Mr. Whitfield Raw, a racy, 
effective, and fluent speaker. In Kyneton were — Mr. W. 
Ward, pious and earnest, Mr. Southern, and others. These 
were resident before 1860, and after that date came Mr. 
John Bond, who, having been a Wesleyan Minister, has since 
followed the profession of a School Teacher, and gave ser- 
vices to this Circuit, which were highly valued, for a 
while as a paid agent, but gratuitously during many 
years. His sermons are well studied, remarkable for 
their chaste diction, and are delivered with much expression 
and power. Other Laymen have served their God, their 
Church, and their generation very faithfully within the 
bounds of the Circuit — Messrs. Joseph Rogers, Johnson, 
Chambers, and Blencowe in Kyneton ; Hoopell, and Flem- 
ing, in Malmsbury ; Ham, Kistle, and others in Taradale. A 
devoted lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Watson, made an imperishable 
name for herself in connection with her labours as a teacher 
in both Day and Sabbath schools in Kyneton, and her intel- 
ligent and untiring activity for the welfare of her rising 
family, the young people of the district, and the community 
generally. She was a good mother, a highly esteemed Class 


Leader for young females, and a most amiable Christian. 
Many, besides her own family, call her blessed. Her 
spirit passed away from earth in triumph on June 
21st, 1858. 

While, so to speak, the vessel had such an excellent crew 
on board, she was steered by skilful pilots and officers. 
Three bells rung out, and the watch was changed. So, in 
succession after Mr. Catterall, came the Revs. Samuel 
Waterhouse (1860-2), returned from Fiji; Charles Dubourg 
(1863-5); John Pemell (1866-8); Peter R. C. Ussher 
(1869-70); James D. Dodgson (1871-2); Martin Dyson 
(1873-5) ; Thomas Kane, (1876-7) ; John Catterall (1878-80); 
Charles Lancaster (1881-3) and James W. Tuckfield 
(1884-6). All wiU acknowledge the wakeful fidelity and 
wise management of these trusted men who have had the 
charge of the Kyneton Circuit. This, to-day, is one of the 
most stable and flourishing of the country Circuits. 

Daylesforo. — The first places taken up by Methodism 
within the present Daylesford Circuit, had been missioned 
from Castlemaine. The earliest was Mount Franklin (town- 
ship Franklinford) the residence of Mr. E. S. Parker. This 
hospitable gentleman and his family kept open house and a 
well-spread board for Ministers of any denomination, and 
many stayed there during the first years of colonial and 
goldtields history. The preaching was at first in the house 
of Mr. Parker, then a Church was opened in Franklinford 
in 1858. As the station for the natives was within a mile 
or so, many of these attended the service. A number 
could understand English, and speak it well. They had 
received the rudiments of education in the Day school. 
They were frequently found in tlie congregation at the 
small Church. The Castlemaine Ministers from 1857 to 
1860 made a monthly visit to Franklinford, Yandoit, and 
at the latter portion of the time to Spring Creek (then the 
Jim Crow diggings, now Hepburn). The country was very 
interesting, for miles spreading out in a high table land, 
that was ended on one side by the abrupt gorges of the 


Jim Crow Creek. Mount Franklin stood a prominent 
object towards one point of tlie compass, Wombat Hill in 
another, and at farther distances were the Mounts Alex- 
ander, Macedon, Tarrengower, and the Smeaton Hills. 
In 1860 a flourishing society had been formed at the 
Spring Creek diggings — Messrs. S. and J. Barkla (Local 
Preachers), J. Andrew, and Browning were leading mem- 
bers, Messrs. Bum stead, Warren, Gannon, Morrison, and 
Taylor were active in the other places, Franklinford and 

At this time, Daylesford, distant some four miles from 
Spring Creek, Avas not touched by Methodist agency, 
although a few Methodists weie living there. The place 
had an unenviable notoriety for lawless proceedings, some 
of the 'tar and feathering' order. Drinking, gambling, 
profanity, reckless liA'ing, largely held sway. The Rev. 
John Harcourt paid a preliminary visit to the place in 
1860, holding service in the Court House, and gathering 
together the few AVesleyans that were in hearty sympathy 
with the Lord's cause. This led to the appointment of the 
Rev. Samuel Knight in the same year, although his Con- 
ferential appointment was in 1861. There could not have 
been a more suitable man sent. In the fire and ardour of 
his youthful zeal he laboured with all his might, soon a 
congregation was gathered, the revival power which was 
abroad in the colony, came in signal force upon this place, 
and very shortly moral revolution and spiritual regeneration 
took places in multitudes. When the first Methodist 
Church was opened in October, 1861, Mr. Parker, chairman 
at the pubhc meeting, referred in gratitude to God to the 
swift expansion of the work. "A few months before, 14 
persons comprised the society, but at that present time 76 
were in Church communion ; then, the congregation of a 
score met in a hired room ; now, hundreds were assembled 
within the walls of a commodious and beautiful building." 
This was 40 x 30 feet, and cost £1100. The converting 
power of God was also amongst a small congregation at 


Stony Creek, so that the Circuit made its first return to the 
District Meeting and Conference of 94 Church members. 
Soon the Circuit spread, and the mining districts of Black- 
wood, Smith's Creek, with those of Yandoit and Hepburn 
mentioned before, and the more important agricultural 
districts within a radius of some miles around, were 
occupied as preaching stations. The mining prosperity 
and the increase of Church members and adherents 
influenced the sanguine mind of the Rev J Mewton 
(who was the successor of Mr. Knight) to a great under- 
taking. This was the erection of the present large 
Church, one of the finest that the Wesleyans have in the 
colony outside of Melbourne, and vying with the ecclesias- 
tical buildings in that city. The dimensions are 80 x 48, 
with a tower 42 feet in height, to complete the structure. 
The enterprise began well, the foundation stone was laid in 
June, 1865, a large amount was promised by local sub- 
scribers, but before the edifice was finished, a large collapse 
of mining affairs took place, and many of the people left for 
other fields ; some of the promises were not redeemed, 
and when the Church was opened, it was heavily encum- 
bered with debt. Over £3000 had been expended on 
the Church itself but on all the Church property — Parson- 
age, Church, and School — nearly that amount remained as 
a liability. Nobly have the people grappled with their 
difiiculties, so that through a strain of constant effort 
locally, with some assistance from Connexional funds, that 
liability has been reduced one half ; but it has been a 
tremendous struggle. Messrs. Rashleigh, Waddington, 
Betheras, and others have been devoted labourers and 
efficient officers in this Church, and have willingly put 
their hands and shoulders to the burden, yet, happily, they 
have had a series of enterprising and judicious Ministers, 
who have contributed largely to lessen the financial burden, 
and to extend the spiritual life and interests of the Church. 
Such were Messrs. Flockart, Royce, Dodgson, Bickford, T. 
Adamson, Crisp, and J. H. Tuckfield. The junior Ministers 


too, have been of exceptional ability in the pulpit, as Messrs. 
T. E. Ick, M.A., Richard Fitcher, and D. O'Dounell. Black- 
wood was detached from the Circuit, and has of late years 
maintained but a feeble existence, although able Ministers 
such as the Rev. J. de Q. Robin, M.A., H. Saloway, and 
W. Burridge, have been in the field, and Laymen like Messrs. 
J. Barkla, Robinson, Garland, and others, have wrought with 
self-denying devotedness for its establishment. The decline 
has been largely accounted for by the failure of mining 
interests at Barry's Reef, Simmons' Reef, and elsewhere. 
Daylesford itself has a strong, healthy, lively society, and the 
Circuit tree has vigorous and widespread arms and branches. 



The father of the cause at Tarnagulla was Mr. Jonathan 
Falder, who emigrated from Cumberland, stayed for a time 
at California Hill, Sandhurst, and thence removed to Sandy 
Creek, as Tarnagulla at first was called. He was an 
acceptable and eai'iiest Local Preacher, and at the time that 
he began the services at Tarnagulla, had a proper status on 
the Sandhurst Circuit plan. On September 12th, 1858, he 
took his stand near Poverty Reef, and unfurled the banner 
of the Cross, to rally and enlist soldiers for the Lord. He 
preached from I Timothy, chapter 1, verse 15, to an attentive 
audience, and again conducted service in the evening, but 
this time in a private house. He was one of the staunch, 
true, tried men, who are not long in a place before they 
make their influence powerful for good, and want no outside 
authority to tell them to use their gifts and opportunities 
for the welfare of souls. A Class was formed, and the 
first meeting held on September 16th. Then a small build- 
ing in the main street was fitted up, and opened for Divine 


service by Mr. Falder, on October 24th. Thither came the 
Revs. Joseph Dare, C. Dubourg, and others from Sandhurst 
to minister to the little flock, and Sandy Creek appeared as 
one of the preaching appointments on the Sandhurst plan. 
Mr. T. Pybus, a popular and eloquent expounder of Scrip- 
ture, who resided in the neighbourhood, rendered valuable 
aid. The work prospered, so that a new Church was opened 
on March 13th, 1859, by sermons from Mr. Falder in the 
morning, and Mr. Pybus at night. The first building used 
as a Church was of slab sides and of bark roof, and had a 
capacious chimney, affording a cool seat for a select few, 
always provided no roasting fire was placed there. The 
second building was more comfortable and capacious, but 
still of very primitive design and materials. If any ask, 
" Why do you tell us about a slab hut, a weather-board 
Church, a canvas tent T we reply, " Because from such 
humble beginnings grew many a cause and Church that 
became subsequently flourishing," and further, "Because 
we have to deal with the wares ready to our hand. We do 
not manufacture them as we go on. We take what facts 
and incidents occurred, be they plain or ornamental, prosy 
or romantic." 

This story of Victorian Methodism can present no Stone- 
henge, monument, still existing, of a religion passed into 
oblivion, no round towers, cromlechs, nor grey ruins which 
tell of dead persons and dead things. We have to write of 
a living religion in its infancy of life, with poor and flimsy 
buildings at the first, which suited that early state, but 
which have been for the most part superseded by more 
durable structures. We write not of minsters venerable 
with age, of ivy crowned and covered ecclesiastical piles, 
for our life is young ; we are but of yesterday ; nevertheless 
these plain buildings were more frequently the birthplace 
of precious souls born into a religious life, than are many 
more pretentious and stately buildings. The word " Cir- 
cumspice" is said to be graven on the monumental tablet of 
Sir C. Wren, at St. Paul's, London. We, too, can write 


" Circumspice" as to Methodist temples and institutions on 
the goldtields, with no shame-facedness, but with glowing 
thankfulness of heart. Yet the chief test of an ecclesiastical 
building with the Methodist people is found in the inquiry : 
Is it the birthplace of precious souls ? " Methodism rears 
no monument where she saves no souls !" So of these 
humble structures at TarnaguUa and similar places, we 
record with grateful satisfaction, as did the Psalmist of old 
time of the Zion he loved. " This and that man was born 
in her. . . . The Lord shall count when he writeth up 
the people, that this man was born there." 

But to return to our narrative, TarnaguUa Circuit was 
formed in 1860, and tlie Rev. Robt. S. Bunn was appointed 
as the first Minister. He laboured assiduously for one 
year, and was then transferred to another Circuit. He was 
a native of the Emerald Isle, and had the warmth of 
manner and wit of speech which mark so many sons from 
that soil. The places on the plan on the formation of the 
Circuit were — TarnaguUa, ISTew Inglewood, Old Inglewood, 
Korong, Dunolly, Kingower, and Newbridge. The next 
Minister was the Rev. John Mewton, during whose time 
these additional places were put on the Circuit plan, viz. : — 
Jones Creek, New Chum (Llanelly), Kangaroo, Bridgewater, 
Serpentine, Old Dunolly, Burnt Creek, Wattle Flat (Inker- 
man), Cochrane's (Bealiba), Moliagul, and Woodstock. The 
Circuit thus extended from Mount Korong on the north, to 
Burnt Creek on the south ; from Bealiba on the west, to 
Woodstock on the east. It was not likely to contract or 
diminish under Mr. Mewton's care. He was in labours 
more abundant during his three years' stay, and left with 
the esteem of the whole Circuit. 

By June, 1864, the project of a new Church, to cost 
about £1400, was entered upon with spirit, and before the 
work was begun, £700 was promised towards this outlay. On 
October 19th, the foundation stone was laid by the Rev. 
W. Hill. The main structure was 55 x 32 feet in extent, 
and the whole was finished in the next year. The Cluirch 


remains to this day a memento of the liberality and pious 
enterprise of the Tarnagulla people. It was a great leap of 
progress in seven years, from the slab hut to the stately 
and ornate sanctuary. Mr. Edward Davies, a son of a 
Wesleyan Minister in England, had been converted under 
the ministry of the Rev. Joseph Dare ; he soon afterwards 
exercised his gifts as a Local Preacher, and was eventually 
received into the Wesleyan Ministry in 1865. None 
rejoiced more than Mr. Falder, to see the new Church 
erected, to find that God was raising up of Zion's sons 
those who went forth to preach the everlasting gospel, and 
that the Word of God was not bound, but mightily pre- 
vailing in the overthi'ow of sin, the conversion of sinners, 
and the edification of believers. Born in Cumberland in 
the year 1815, of a yeoman stock, he carried into his 
religious life, mucli of the sterling honesty, and unswerving 
fidelity which mark the sturdy, hardy race of the extreme 
north of England. Goodly in appearance, well knit in 
strength, deeply rooted in godliness, useful in most depart- 
ments and branches of our work, lie was as a cedar in our 
Lebanon. Said his pastor, the Rev. Thomas Grove, " He 
was one of the hardest working and most successful of our 
Lay Preachers in Victoria, a veteran in the work. He 
was noted for his faithfulness in reproving sin of every 
kind, and his diligence in impro-sang every opportunity of 
doing good to those with whom he came in contact. His 
mind was active and inquiring, leading him to familiarize 
himself with the standard works of our Church, both theo- 
logical and historical, so that it was a pleasure to converse 
with him. During forty-five years he seldom preached less 
than twice on the Sabbath, and not a few were brought^ 
under his preaching, to the experience of the new birth. 
His twenty-two years of devoted labour in this Circuit 
caused him to be greatly beloved by the people, and to be 
regarded as a patriarch in our Israel. ' He was a faithful 
man, and feared God above many.' He represented the 
Circuit, though then in great feebleness of body, at the 


Melbourne Conference of 1879, and his health soon after 
hecame worse. He gradually declined in bodily strength, 
but his faith and peace continued strong as ever, until he 
sweetly fell asleep in Jesus on Sabbath evening, August 
15th, 1880. ' The memory of the just is blessed.' " 

Mr. Mewton's zeal was largely instrumental in the erec 
tion of a new Church in Dunolly, in which he was liberally 
sustained by the officials of the society. The building cost 
about £700, and was opened in March, 1863, From that 
time this society gradually increased in strength and 
importance, until it became the chief in the Circuit. 
Mr. Mewton was assisted one year by the Rev. W. Weston, 
and under their united labours conversions multiplied 
throughout the Circuit, especially in Kingower, as also in 
Dunolly, Korong, and Tarnagulla. When Mr. Mewton 
left, he could report about 200 members in the Circuit j 
and large numbers in the congregations. In 1864, the 
Rev. Edward King took charge, and a work of grace 
spread through many portions of the Circuit. 270 mem- 
bers were returned at the Conference of 1865. The Rev. 
D. Annear was his colleague residing at Inglewood. This 
portion became so strong that it set up as an independent 
Circuit (1866), having the Rev. James Graham for its 

Dunolly has had a flourishing Sabbath school for years 
past, having been favoured with Mr. Job Hansford as its 
"first superintendent, who was a Christian having a great 
love for children and the work of scriptural instruction. 
This godly man had been converted in Guernsey, through 
the zealous effort of the pious captain of a vessel. 
Migrating to this land, and settling at Dunolly, he soon 
identified himself with every good work. He was a man of 
cheerfulness, bright intelligence and devout spirituality. 
Beloved by his class, and his school, and by all good men, his 
name in this town is still as ointment poured forth. He was 
removed by death in May, 1874, but has left behind worthy 
descendants to carry on his work. A mine, the Queen's 


Birthday, which gave for years, large returns, had a large 
number of shareholders who were Methodists, and the 
dividends placed many of them in comfortable circum- 
stances, and a few in affluence. The yields of the mine 
contributed also, through the liberality of those shareholders, 
to put many of the enterprises of the Church in Dunolly 
and neighl:)0uring places in an easy financial position. A 
feature of the work of God in Dunolly of late years has 
been the great attention given to the religious care of the 
young people in Catechumen or Juvenile society classes, 
which will surely yield fruit in after years. The Dunolly 
Circuit has been favoured in sucli appointments as the Revs. 
W. Woodall, J. S. H. Royce, H. Baker, T. Kane, C. 
Dubourg, Thomas Grove, and W. Williams, and the people 
have greatly valued their ministry. Laymen, such as 
iMessrs. Bi-istol, Peters, and others have added greatly to 
the strength of this Circuit. It now includes 10 congrega- 
tions, and has 334 members, with 1700 adherents. 

IxGLEWooD. — So far as we glean information. Mount 
Korong, with its township of Wedderburn, was the first 
place in which Methodism had a foothold within the bounds 
of what is now the Inglewood Circuit. Scattered Method- 
ists were to be found upon tlie several goldfields, comprised 
within this area, prior to regular services being established. 
Some one has likened Methodists in such circumstances to 
spilt quicksilver, where the particles, separated for a time, 
retain even in these minute portions, their brightness and 
-attractive power, and show their innate faculty for cohesion, 
and as two portions get near enough will almost spon- 
-taneously join together again. That may be so with the 
more earnest members, but usually the bulk of Methodists 
want some active agent to gather and band them together. 
.The story of early Methodist life in these parts is illustra- 
tive of that statement. An active Local Preacher, gifted 
with more than average ability, went from Dunolly to 
Wedderburn, and during a three weeks' stay, preached on 
three successive Sundays in a large storeroom, kindly lent 


by the landlord of a chief hotel in the place. These are 
supposed to have been the first regular Methodist services 
held there, although they were preceded by some open-air 
services. The preacher, Mr. George Middleton, before he 
left, formed a Church Building Committee, which under- 
took the erection of a Church in 18-56 or 18.57. This they 
proceeded to do with spirit, energy, and liberality, so that a 
Church was built, a small society formed, and Methodism 
permanently established. Before this, according to a 
resident observer, in the absence of religious ordinances, 
profligacy and vice abounded. The Sabbath was desecrated, 
licentiousness increased, and moral desolation reigned. After 
the services began a most salutary change was efiected. The 
progress of iniquity was arrested, and Sabbath desecration 
diminished. Some who were deeply sunk in depravity and 
wretchedness were raised to a condition of divine purity 
and holy enjoyment ; and where spiritual sterility and death 
had reigned, life, fruitfulness, and beauty appeared. The 
Mount Korong society in its early years was more indebted 
to Mr. George Bunting than to any other person. He 
wrought hard as a digger during the week, and on the 
Sabbath he laboured even more strenuously to bring sinners 
to repentance. He had good natural gifts as a speaker, 
being clear, emphatic, and homely in his style. Soon after 
he came, the people found that he was a devout, consistent 
Christian, and could edify the congregation by his forceful 
instructive sermons, so they wished him to act as their 
pastor. They did not oflTer him a thousand pounds 
stipend, but they did that with which he was quite 
content. They bargained that he should have a certain, 
time in the week for pulpit preparation, and they would 
pay for that time at current rates, so that he should be no 
monetary loser, or not to any great extent, when he 
gave one or two days to earnest study of his subjects for 
the Sabbath discourses. For months and years he pi'eached 
twice on the Sabbath, as well as conducted meetings on 
other days of the week. Many were by his agency 


turned to the Lord, and a prosperous society was gathered, 
and kept together, with an occasional or passing visit by 
an ordained minister. One such took place on July 18th, 
1858, Avhen sermons, on the occasion of the Church 
Anniversary, were preached by the Rev. Joseph Albiston, 
and Mr. T. Pybus. According to the report read at 
the succeeding public meeting, in the Korong Society 
were five Local Preachers, two Class Leaders, and twenty- 
four members. The Sabbath school had thirteen teachers 
and sixty-nine scholars. The congregation had increased, 
so that a more commodious place of worship was pi'ojected. 
When Mr. Bunting left in 1862 all classes joined together 
in presenting him with handsome volumes, in token, as an 
inscription in them testifies, " of their esteem for the 
consistent and self-denying manner in which he laboured as 
a Local Preacher in connection with the Wesley an Methodist 
society, for a period of more than five years." Mr. Bunting 
removed to Williamstown, and handed over the care of the 
Society to the Minister at Tarnagulla. Mr. Bunting had 
the emotional fervour of his race. He is a West Indian. 
At social prayer meetings we have heard him pray like an 
apostle, and have known him to be so overcome with 
spiritual transport or ecstacy, that after prayer, he could 
not for a while rise from his knees. He seemed " lost in 
wonder, love, and praise." When he was examined before 
his reception as a Local Preacher, his replies were after this 
style, " Do you believe there will be a general judgment at 
the last day, making awards to the evil and the good 1 
*' Yes, I do ; this I know, that Bunting will be there." 
Personal application of important religious truth was 
frequent with him. 

Inglewood had been, with its outlying appointments, 
a part of the Tarnagulla and Dunolly Circuit, but in 
1866 it was made a distinct Circuit, having the Rev. 
James Graham as Minister. It then comprised Inglewood, 
Jersey Reef, Kingower, Korong, Yarrayne, and Jericho. 
Since its formation the mining interest has declined, but 


the agricultural interests have increased, so that relatively 
strong societies are to be found in Bridgewater, Wedder- 
burn, Korong Vale, Boort, for the most part agricultural 
settlements. The Circuit has had very excellent appoint- 
ments in the Revs. Robert W. Campbell, A. R. Edgar, and 
William Burridge ; as also earnest and capable men in 
Revs. H. Saloway, James Lowe, D. Gilsenan, and D. S. 
Lowe ; but, owing largely to the fluctuations of mining 
interests, has been for years a struggling Circuit. Of the 
old pioneers, Messrs. Galloway and Pearce still remain, and 
Messrs. Clark, Wingfield, and other prominent Laymen 
have stood nobly by the cause. They have given largely of 
their means, time and energies, to support and extend it. 
Dr. Cox, of Wedderburn, was very kind and helpful. 
The flourishing agricultural communities around Boort have 
in 1886 become a new Circuit, and it is confidently 
believed that a bright future is before the two sections that 
formerly made up the Inglewood Circuit. 




The St. Arnaud Circuit is an ofishoot of the Avoca Circuit. 
Our Circuits spread like the Banyan tree grows. The pro- 
pagation is often like to that of some creatures,low in the scale 
of organized life, multiplication by fissure or excision. When 
the Rev. A. Inglis was Minister of the Avoca Circuit in 1861, 
he was invited to visit St. Arnaud by Mr. Pemberthy, an 
adherent of the Wesleyan Church, who was then the 
mining manager of a claim employing 150 men, and is now 
a respected storekeeper of the town. Mr. Inglis went 
a,ccordingly, and held services, at first, once a mouth. The 


Church of England prayers were read sometimes, as many in 
the congregation belonged to that religious body. After a, 
short trial of such services, a meeting was held to project a 
Church ; seven persons were present; £150 were promised, 
but owing to the fluctuation of mining interests, and othe 
causes, we understand that only £57 were actually paid. 
However, the Church was built, and the opening services, 
with a tea meeting, produced a large amount, which put the 
finance of the Trust in a somewhat easy position. Gold 
and silver mines were the large stay of the place in those 
years, the silver mines being the principal. The congrega- 
tion was maintained, and presently a Society class was 
formed. One of the first converted was a Mr. Hobbs, who 
had been a Freethinker, but afterwards became an accept- 
able Local Preacher. Whilst it was an adjunct of the 
Avoca Circuit, St. Arnaud had the ministrations of the 
Revs. A. Inglis, C. Dubourg, "W. C. Currey, and Robert L. 
Vickers. It was made into a distinct Circuit in 1866, and 
the Rev. Albert Stubbs was appointed as the first resident 
Minister. It was then a weak, infantile Circuit, with big 
head and little body, for it consisted of one Church, which 
had most of the membership, and of two preaching places 
beside. The return at the Conference of 1867 was of 47 
members, 1 school of 94 scholars, and 330 adherents in the 
whole of the Circuit. In July, 1866, only two Local 
Preachers, C. H. Brown and W. Richards were resident, 
but the Circuit had received help by the visits of 
Local Preachers from places of the Avoca Circuit. An 
important addition to the stafi" of Local Preachers was 
made by the arrival of Richard Rowe, in 1868. who is a 
gifted preacher, and by J. Jennison, who is a devoted 
labourer, a man of good judgment and eflective speech, and 
has proved a pillar of the Church in these pai'ts since the 
time of his coming in 1872. For a season, although the 
central Church had good appointments in Richard Fitcher, 
George Schotield, Alexander Brown and W. Williams, it 
made little extension ; still Carr's plains was made a 


preaching place in 1869, then Waterloo plains and Gregre. 
Stuart Mill was put on the plan in 1870-1, Mogg's plains 
(afterwards Swanwater), and Wallaloo in June 1871. Then 
the land selection movement spread over the district. The 
plains were of a rich soil, suitable to the agriculturist, and 
this becoming apparent, numbers of Wesleyans from the 
south — Talbot, Clunes, Ballarat, etc. — swarmed into this 
region for its occupation. 

Rev. David S. Lindsay was the principal agent as Circuit 
Minister (1873) in the erection of the present commodious 
Church in St. Arnaud ; but with the appointment of the 
Rev. Ralph Brown in 1874, came the time of rapid growth 
and wide extension. This Minister is a Circuit Rider, 
admirably suited for a growing district, and a "wddespread 
field of labour, for nothing delights hira more than swift 
movement, whether on horseback, or in driving a pair of 
horses. Fifty or sixty miles of journey, with three preaching 
services, he accounted as an easy or ordinary Sabbath's 
woi'k. As settlement was rapidly taking place, he put the 
preaching appointments abreast, almost in the van, of settle- 
ment. So in 1874 were placed on the Preachers' Plan, 
Nicholl's plains (Conooer), Mount Jeffcott, Sutherland's 
plains, East Charlton, and Donald ; in 1875, Stratford, 
Wycheproof, Dooboobetic; in 1876, Wooroonooke (Watson's 
lakes), Avon plains, Tyrrel Creek, Bungaluke, Quambatook ; 
and in 1877, Armenian and Barrackee. In most of these 
places are strong societies, and at Donald and East Charlton 
are now resident M inist ers, with active Laymen, Messrs. Carne, 
Williams, and Stamp at the former, and Messrs. Procter, 
Martyn, Curnow, and others at the latter place. The Revs. J. 
S. H. Royce, R. O. Cook, T. Angwin, followed as energetic 
Superintendents, and the Rev. E. Clement De Garis as an 
active junior. Mr. De Garis was the first Superintendent of a 
new Circuit divided from St. Arnaud, of which Charlton is 
the head. Rev. Ebenezer Taylor has successfully carried on 
the work of extension in the Charlton Circuit, and the Rev. 
J. H. A. Inarham has exercised a soul-savino- ministry in St. 


Arnaud, and now these Circuits are two of tlie strongest 
and healthiest in the northern or north-western portions of 
the colony. The labours of the new form of agency, the 
General Missionaries, have also been greatly blessed in this 
district, so th^-t in recent years Methodism has grown with 
the swift expansion noticeable in the vegetation here, when 
the warm spring sunshine alternates with genial showers. 
Our Church has gone up to possess the land, and is far the 
strongest of any Evangelical Church in this region. The 
St. Arnaud Circuit returned in 1885 (September) 351 
members, 890 Sabbath scholars, and 2180 adherents, whilst 
the Charlton Circuit was of about equal strength in 403 
Church members, 891 Sabbath scholars, and 1960 adherents 
of the Church. 

EcnucA. — The first Methodist Minister who visited 
Echuca and held services on the Sabbath was the Rev. 
James Bickford. The Rev. Thomas Raston had previously 
paid a visit to Messrs. Booth and Argyle's station in tlie 
direction of Swan Hill, and administered the ordinances of 
religion. The beginning, however, of Methodism in Echuca 
itself, dates from this visit of Mr. Bickford in May, 1860. 
He was welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Veale, Mr. 
Kipling Powell, Mr. Lambert, Mr. and Mrs. Webb, who 
had been in other places attendants on the Wesleyan 
Ministry, and by persons who belonged to other Christian 
Churches. Mr. Bickford preached on May 27th, in 
Echuca, from I Timothy, chapter i, verse 15, in the 
morning, and from Revelation chapter vii, verses 13, 14, at 
night, and held a service at Moama. No Clergyman at 
that time was resident between Sandhurst and Deniliquin, 
a distance of 100 miles. No regular public worship was 
held ; only an occasional visit was made by a Minister to 
Echuca, or to adjacent districts. Mr. Bickford's missionary 
heart was stirred Avithin him, as he found the people 
" hungering for the bread of life, and anxious for the settle- 
ment of a Minister." His representations led to subsequent 
visits by Wesleyan Ministers, and bore fruit in the appoint- 


ment of the Rev. Francis \V. Jenkin to Echuca in 1864. 
This brother afterwards entered the Presbyterian Church. 
Mr. James Burchett succeeded him. He went subsequently 
to the Congregationalist Church. The cause was numeri- 
cally weak. 29 members and 180 adherents constituted 
the return after three years of labour. Thomas F. Bird 
was the next Minister. He was of commanding intellectual 
gifts, but he also transferred himself to the ministry of the 
Congregationalist Church. Then in 1868, William H. 
Fitchett was appointed, when our Church gained a good 
position by the eminent gifts and enterprising spirit of this 
Minister, blessed by God to the conversion of a few persons, 
and to the gathering of many hearers into the congregation. 
Mr. Fitchett stayed three years, and was followed by 
Ministers of good standing in the Chuich. Echuca was 
favoured by having in succession, Revs. C. Lancaster, J. F. 
Horsley, H. Baker, J. D. Dodgson, J. Waterhouse, J. 
Cowperthwaite, who are, or have been, strong men in the 
Church, and have tilled some of its most important stations. 
At this time, under the pastorate of the Rev. W. M. 
Bennett, Echuca has a roll of 102 Church members, 291 
Sabbath scholars, and 660 adherents. The Church was 
erected in the pastorate of the Rev. W. H. Fitchett, but 
its additions have been considerable in subsequent times, 
and the congregation has done nobly in meeting the 
required expenditure. Messrs. Moorhouse, Heyward, Dr. 
Allin, Kyle, Kelly, Adams, Matthews, and Payne may be 
mentioned as having actively promoted the interests of 
the Church. 

Two Circuits flank Echuca on either side. That of 
Kyabram has been mostly under the care of junior Ministers, 
who have been active, energetic young men. Messrs. Adams, 
H. K. Hutchison, F. AVatsford, W. R. Cunningham may 
be named amongst them. The Circuit was formed about 
the time of the migration to the northern areas by selectors 
in the years 1872-3, and owes much to the unstinted and 
self-denying labours of the Messrs. Lancaster. At one 


time the father and two sons were Local Preachers within 
its bounds, and another son, the Rev. C. Lancastei', was the 
Circuit Minister. Like sire, like son, in simplicity of 
character and aim, and in fervid labours, could be said of 
these male members of this choice jNIethodist family. Mr. 
William Baldwin, formerly of Heathcote Circuit, has been 
an acceptable Local Preacher in this Circuit also. The 
places embraced in its bounds are — Kyabram, Pinegrove 
(near Sheridan township), Timmering, Cooma, Mooroopna 
iSTorth, Spring Yale, Tongala, and Carag. The people are 
a willing, liberal, loyal set of JSIethodists. Kyabram 
Circuit is to the west of the Goulburn, Yielima Home 
Mission is to the north of that river, where it makes a bend 
to the westward and runs for a short distance almost 
parallel with the Murray river. This mission is taking 
good I'oot amongst the settlers of the Yielima, Yalca, and 
Nathalia regions. 

Durham Ox and Kerang Circuit is to the west and 
south-west of Echuca. That, too, has been favoured with 
representatives of a choice Methodist family within its 
bounds. The Holloways were there prior to the appearance 
of the selectors, when these latter came, the utmost good 
feeling existed between the squatter family, and the 
selectors. Every facility was rendered for the commence- 
ment of services and tlie settlement of a Minister by the 
liberality and zeal of tlie Holloways. The first location of 
a Home Missionary, Mr. H. Clarkson, and afterwards of a 
married Minister, was at Durham Ox, near the station of 
Mr. George Holloway. As a Home Mission station it was 
one of the first formed under the auspices of the Wesleyan 
Home Missionary Society of Victoria, and under the over, 
sight of the Rev. John Watsford. It grew and prospered 
during the lengthened administration of Mr. Henry Clarkson. 
Other good Methodists had selected land within its bounds^ 
the Woods and Midgleys of Terricks and Yarrawalla, Neale 
of Kerang and Loddon Vale, and many others. Mr. Edwd. 
Holloway has a station at Tragowel, and is a Local 


Preacher, most unsparing of his personal efforts and means, 
for the spread of true religion. He has conducted winter 
campaigns of special services in conjunction with the Circuit 
Ministers, and Mr. Baker, a devoted Home Missionary, 
which have resulted in very marked success in the ingather- 
ing of precious souls to Christ and to his fold. The Revs. 
E. Taylor, E C. De Garis, and H. J. Cock have been inde- 
fatigable in their labours in this field, and during their 
administration the Circuit has strengthened greatly in 
membership and piety. It returns now 253 Church mem- 
bers and 1000 adherents, and has 13 Churches ^vithin its 
bounds. Mr. De Garis has gained well-deserved repute for 
the advocacy of irrigation, a vital question on these northern 
plains. Raywood Circuit and Elmore Home Mission are 
situate in an agricultural district between Sandhurst and 
Echuca. The former, after some vicissitudes, is now a 
thri\'ing Circuit. Swan Hill has been missioned by Mr 
Baker Avithin the last two years, and with the sympathy 
and help of Mr. Murdoch, Mr. George Holloway, and 
Messrs. Dennis, of Millool (N.S.W.), promises to become a 
flourishinor station. 



We are indebted to the Rev. J. S. H. Royce, the esteemed 
Chairman of this District, for most of the following sketch 
of its history : — 

In the minutes of Conference for 1863, Gippsland makes 
its first appearance by one of the stereotyped forms used in 
the columns of the stations, viz., " One earnestly requested. 
At that period no returns of members, or adherents, or 
Church property, were given, simply because Methodism 
had no organization in that remote part of Victoria 


Twenty -three years have passed away since the above record 
■was made and our Church was in the position indicated ; 
but that state has been reversed by a deposit of Methodist 
leaven, which has permeated the country from Omeo in the 
far north to Wilson's Promontory in the south ; " the little 
one has become a thousand" ; now, Gippsland is a separate 
District with six Circuits and three Mission stations, where 
there are also six Ministers and five Missionaries. In these 
several Circuits and stations there are now 21 Churches, 54 
other preaching places, 585 members, 1225 Sunday scholars, 
and 4289 adherents. It was "the day of small things" 
when the first Methodist service was held in Sale, which 
being the principal town of the province, became the centre 
of operation ; the original Circuit embraced the whole of 
Gippsland. Twenty years before this, the squatter found 
his way into the country, but it was from the coast line he 
had to push his way through almost impenetrable forests, 
and surmount other barriers in the mountain ranges, which 
only men of enterprise would have undertaken. These 
early pioneers had the pick of the country, which possessed 
magnificent pasture land, watered by numerous streams, 
while a productive soil and bracing climate made Gippsland 
the Goshen of Victoria. No wonder that under these 
favourable circumstances the settlei'S found themselves in 
affluent positions, and that a tide of population flowed towards 
this land. Some of the Wesleyans who first came joined 
other Protestant Churches, whose Ministers preceded the 
Wesleyan. The advent of some of our loyal and influential 
Laymen led to a movement for the establishment of a 
Methodist Church in Gippsland. Among these was the late 
Mr. Nehemiah Guthridge, and Mr. William Little (both of 
whom had been influential Lay men in Melbourne), witli Messrs. 
G. Ross, J. Waters, Derrick, J. J. Drew and other gentle- 
men. Rev. James Bickford, in Oct. 1863, made a prospecting 
tour around the settled parts of the province, and ui'ged the 
Conference to send two Ministers. Several of the above 
Laymen entered heartily into the project of erecting a 


Church in Sale, and by their untiring efforts and liberality 
the movement was crowned with success. In 1864, Sale 
appears in the list of stations with the Rev. Henry Baker, 
as the Minister. The services were conducted at first in 
the Mechanics' Hall, but on the completion of the Church, 
the congregation removed to its own premises, occupying 
the most central position in the town, and on a site which 
has become exceedingly valuable. In the same year, Port 
Albert also appears in the stations with " one to be sent." 
In the following year of 1865, the Rev. James W. Tuckfield 
was sent to the Port which was then the principal place of 
intercourse with Melbourne. The shipping at that period 
supported a thriving community, as all the stores, for Sale 
and other parts of Gippsland, were conveyed from this 
spot. For several years the Methodist cause flourished. 
Churches were built, both at the Port and Taraville; but 
when the iron-horse found its way from the city through 
the forests, the trade at Port Albert was all but closed ; the 
Minister for a time had to be withdrawn ; but now a tide 
of agricultural and pastoral prosperity has set in, and, under 
the name of Yarram Yarram, this promises to be one of the 
best Circuits in Gippsland. The Revs. Messrs. Ingham, 
James Lowe, and H. J. Cock have given devoted labours to 
this part ; also, Mr. F. Wood, who was employed as a 
Home Missionary. 

In the minutes of 1868, Walhalla appears after Sale, 
not as a Circuit, but simply as indicating a future station ; 
while the following year it is a Circuit "to be supplied 
from Sale and Port Albert." Very few can form a 
conception of the journeys ^which had to be taken then to 
reach Walhalla, which is in a gorge of the mountains com- 
posing the Baw Baw range, and where the roads were not 
merely of the most primitive type, but positively dangerous. 
In the year 1870 there were three Circuits with a Minister 
at each, viz., Sale, Rev. C. Dubourg ; Walhalla, Rev. D. S. 
Lindsay; Port Albert, Rev. Henry Moore. Subsequent 
appointments at Walhalla were — Revs. John Leslie, Arthur 


Powell, Samuel Adamson, John. A. Osborne, and A. Inglis. 
The incidents that occurred in those days were unique 
in connection with the Circuits in the mountains, as 
Walhalla and Omeo, and those on the plains or lake 
country; and perhaps no backwoods' preacher of America 
could surpass them in interest. The difficulties attending 
the establishment of Methodism were of a romantic charac- 
ter, and the pioneer Ministers and Laymen of Gippsland, 
have had that in their heroic work which could " point 
a moral and adorn a tale." In addition to the places 
mentioned we have Ministers stationed in the thriving 
towns of Bairnsdale, Warragul, and Traralgon ; while the 
positions occupied by Home Missionaries will, no doubt, 
soon be filled by Conference appointments, and other out- 
posts occupied by enterprizing pioneers. The Revs. W. 
Brown, John Harcourt, Robert C. Flockart, William 
Williams, S. T. Withington, and Thomas Kane have been 
foremost Ministers in the Lowland Circuits. In Gippsland 
there are the elements of permanency, rich pasture and 
agricultural lands ; forests of valuable timber ; while in the 
mountains there is incalculable mineral wealth — gold, silver, 
copper, lead, tin ; and it is not improbable that extensive 
coalfields may yet be developed. 

The recent extension of our work in the new parts of 
the District, chiefly through the agency of the Home Mis- 
sionaries, should be noticed. Mr. J. S. Holmes, of the 
Belfast Circuit, was the first Home Missionary in the 
District. He was the pioneer of the Warragul Circuit in 
1871, when the country was a dense and almost unbroken 
forest. The roads were of the rudest, roughest character, 
and the travelling was unusually laborious and exhausting. 
The Messrs. James and Hugh Copeland had settled at 
Warragul (then Brandy Creek and Buln Buln), and were as 
hearty and liberal friends of our Church as they had been 
in Melbourne and Ireland before. Messrs. Garside, Witton, 
Walters, in this neighbourhood, and many other members of 
our Church from various parts of the colony, dispersed 


themselves through Gippsland and began to cry out for the 
means of grace. That veteran pioneer, the Rev. J. C. 
Symons, who had done such faithful service in other parts, 
and left his name and mark on many of our Church projects 
and institutions, was also early in this field, and frequently 
preached at the home of Mr. James Copeland, and again at 
what is now the " Poowong and Jetho Home Mission." Mr. 
William Hill, son of the late Rev. W. Hill, describes how 
he persuaded Mr. Symons to don a " pair of moles" that he 
might look more homely and harmonious with his rustic 
congregation, and not appal them by the terrors of a black 
suit. The services took well, and one especially was profuse 
in his compliments on the preacher, as being a right good 
sort of a fellow in fustian, instead of a mere formal parson. A 
good central site was forthwith secured, Mr. Hill purchasing 
an allotment on one side, and Mr. Burchett on the other, 
that our Chui-ch might be well flanked and protected, and 
the Church which had such a good start, has taken a good 
position and made good progress. The Anglicans and Pres- 
byterians are equally active and aggressive, and all seem to 
use, indifferently, each othei'S Churches when necessary. One 
Missionary will pi^each in three or four places on the Sab- 
bath — our own Circuit system, without the name. 

The Rev. H. Howard's ministry at "Warragul gave a 
good impetus to our work there. Mr. Witton, pioneer of 
our Church in Victoria, resides in that part, and still 
labours in the cause of Christ. Many who saw him at the 
Jubilee celebration in the Exhibition Building were glad to 
note how hale and hearty he looked after fifty years of 
service given to Methodisin. The progress of Methodism 
in this province has been rapid in these later years, and the 
work gives bi-ight promise of a prosperous future. 




Portland. — This place holds a venerable and honourable 
rank in Colonial annals, as the first spot in the colony 
visited and settled by Europeans. Some two or three years 
before Melbourne was founded, Portland Bay was a familiar 
name and resort to sundry hardy and adventurous spirits 
from "the other side" and the stream of Methodist life and 
work may be traced almost up to those dim and early days. 
A respected and intelligent member of our Church still li^ang, 
who came from Launceston to Portland in 1841, and has a 
vein of historic curiosity in him, has been kind enough to 
record and compile sundry facts and incidents, illustrative 
of the subject, and which are, in substance, as follows : — 
The coast and bay had been visited for whaling purposes, 
some years before his arrival, by a small fleet owned by 
persons in Yan Dieman's Land, as it was then called. In 
1832, one Dutton, in the employ of Mr. John Sinclair, 
overseer of convicts in Launceston, settled at Portland, 
probably in charge of the old Whaling Boiling-down estab- 
lishment, the site of which may be seen on the shores of 
the Bay. } Then in 1834 came the Hentys, with a staflf of 
men, boats, and material to found a complete whaling 
establishment, and in 1836, Major Mitchell, on his explora- 
tion tour from Sydney, turned up at Portland, and found 
this establishment in active operation. The narrator observes, 
that the natives were very numerous, and were much dis- 
mayed and diverted to see Mitchell on horseback, and 
imagined that the horse and rider were one body, after the 
pattern of the ancient centaur. They were also amused at 
the grey head and beard of the Major, and described them 
as the result of a flour bag shaken over him, flour being a 
luxury with which they had just become acquainted. Major 
Mitchell's track may be still traced, and the writer has seen 
the spot known as Mitchell's tree, between Dunkeld and 


Yuppekiar, where the party camped and inscribed their 
names, an historic landmark like unto the tree which is 
sacredly preserved at Wodonga, marked by Hume and 
Howell, on their first crossing the Murray in 1824. It 
was on this occasion that Mitchell was so charmed with 
the country through wliich he passed, that he called it 
"Australia Felix" in the spirit of grateful prediction and 
glad exultation. The little colony established by the 
Hentys, and thus visited by Major Mitchell, contained, it 
is said, some who had heard the Gospel from Wesleyan 
Missionaries and other faithful men at Launceston. One 
of these, tradition states, was ploughman to Messrs. Henty, 
the first to turn a sod and plough a paddock in the colony. 
He died in 1882, and the site of his work is still shown on 
the bluff, near the railway terminus, while the plough itself 
has long been cherished as an heirloom in the Henty 
family, and was exhibited \vith pride at the Melbourne 
Exhibition of 1880. Another more definite character was 
known as " Jimmey Chapman," the brickmaker, and when 
Messrs. Hedditch and Wilkinson arrived from Tasmania 
they found prayer meetings going on in his little hut. 
Beside the Missionaries, there were, at that time, two ear- 
nest lay workers in the Launceston society, Messrs. Oakden 
and Leach; they were very diverse in style and manner, but 
both very useful. Mr. Leach was the instrument in 
the conversion of Mr. William Witton, and, it is 
believed, that this Jimmey Chapman was another seal of his 
labours. Then in 1839 came over in the ser\T.ce of Messrs. 
Henty, Mr. Henry Deacon, the first man married in Port- 
land, and for many years a faithful member of our Church. 
From 1836 to 1840 a small but growing stream of emi- 
grants arrived from Tasmania, Sydney, and Geelong, the 
true pioneers of settlement in the Western District to be 
followed fifteen years later by a large and direct influx of 
population from Great Britain. Shortly after Major Mit- 
chell's \isit in 1836, a stranger was cast for a while on the 
shores of Portland Bay. Mr. J. J. Peers, wife, and children, 


had left Tasmania for Adelaide in the brig Isabella, intend- 
ing to settle there. The brig was wrecked at Cape Kelson 
on the night of April 1st, 1837, but the passengers and 
crew, twenty-one in number, escaped safe to land. Mr. 
Peers lost all his goods, but his wife and children were 
saved in their night dresses. The whalers, like the bar- 
barous people of Melita, " showed us no little kindness, for 
they kindled a fire and received us every one, because of the 
present rain, and because of the cold." If " Jimmey Chap- 
man's prayer meeting" was going on at that time we may 
be sure that there was a fine thanksgiving service on their 
behalf. From the whalers' huts they were taken to Mr. 
Henty's house and hospitably treated. In a short time 
they returned to Launceston. (See the Rev. J. C. Symons* 
Jubilee speech.) One would not duly inflate this incident or 
import into it any far-fetched element of heroism, it was no 
exploit of classic song or story, such as the landing of the 
pilgrim fathers, or of the hero of Juan Fernandez, but it was 
a coincidence, or rather a proWdence, that Mr. Peers, instead 
of reaching Adelaide, was stopped at Portland, and turned 
back, that he might take a leading part in the introduction 
of Methodism into Melbourne, while the Rev. W. Long- 
bottom, who about the same time had left Tasmania for 
Western Australia, was shipwrecked and detained at Ade- 
laide in the same way, and instead of proceeding to his 
intended place of abode, was an honoured instrument 
in the introduction of Methodism into South Australia. 
In 18-iO, Messrs. Saunders and M'Dowell arrived from 
Launceston, the former removing to Narrawong, twelve 
miles from Portland, on the shores of the Bay, gathered, 
in after years, a primitive Sunday school together in 
a barn, and taught them the way of life, while the latter 
began religious ser\'ice at once in his own shop, a cooperage 
at the oorner of Gawler and Percy-streets, by reading one 
of Wesley's sermons to the few people who would gather 
there. At this time, 1841-2, Mr. Hedditch arrived from 
Tasmania, and Mr. Kitson and family from Geelong, in 


quest of land. Mr. Kitson was a staunch and hardy 
Methodist from the North of Ireland, and settled at " the 
Lakes" near Bridgewater. He opened his house for Method- 
ist pieacliinsr, himself reading and exhorting in turn. His 
family were active members of our Church, and the week- 
day afternoon ser^'ice at " the Lakes" was very precious 
for many years. The solemn ocean, with its long wash and 
swell, is for ever swathing the noble Cape Bridgewater, and 
its serried waves, like crested and mounted battalions, pour 
into its lovely Bay, while, in vivid contrast, "the Lakes," 
round whose margin the wombat and platypus revel with 
impunity, lie with unruffled repose just within the coast 
line, and make the scenery very varied and romantic. In 
1842 Mr. Thomas Wilkinson ari'ived from Melbourne and 
Tasmania. Finding two worthy men (Messrs. Saunders 
and Deacon 1) he united with them in establishing regular 
service, first in Jimmey Chapman's hut (before mentioned), 
then in a slab kitchen, and at last in Messrs. Henty's wool 
store, which was occupied in the morning by the Rev. J. 
Y. Wilson, Anglican Chaplain, and " where a Wesleyan 
Sabbath evening ser\ace was commenced with glorious 
results." In 1843, Mr. William Witton came to Portland 
to overlook the building of the new Court-house and gaol, 
and was, says a witness, " a genuine Local Preacher." 
Messrs. Akers, Raddenberry, Stack, and Lilley occasionally 
visited the place from Melbourne, and fed "the little flock." 
A Sunday school was started by Mr. Cole, classes were 
formed, and prayer meetings held. A Sunday school was also 
started at Double Corner, near the Kttle Wesleyan Ceme- 
tery. The first Church was erected in 1842, mainly through 
the exertions of !Mi*. M'Dow^ell, on the site of the present 
Bank of Victoria. It was 30 x 20, " lath and plastered 
on both sides." In 1854, it was sold and removed, and was 
existing as recently as 1867, a combination of lodging-house 
and flour store. In 1844, Portland appears on the Mel- 
bourne Circuit plan with No. 6 (Mr. Thomas Wilkinson) 
appointed as almost perpetual curate, for M,-. Witron had 


removed to Belfast. Mr. Wilkinson's Church principles 
were of the solid and conservative type, (for he had been a 
London Methodist of the old school, and was wont at times 
to conduct the Anglican serWce in the morning, and the 
Methodist ser\ice at night), while Mr. Witton's were more 
free and elastic, and the two did not always harmonize. 
Mr. Wilkinson founded the Portland Guardian, the first 
newspaper in the Western District, and in 1851 was elected 
to represent that town in the Legislative Council. In 
1848-9, the Rev. F. Tuckfield visited the place, followed, in 
1850, by the Rev. J. Harcourt, whose visit is gratefully 
remembered by one still li^■ing, who found Christ under his 
preaching, but had not the courage to confess it. As early 
as 1845, application had been made to the General Superin- 
tendent for the appointment of a Minister, and £50 
forwarded to him for that purpose. Mr. Harcourt took up 
the case, and, in answer to his urgent presentation of the 
matter, the Rev. W. Lightbody was sent down from Sydney 
in 1851, to take charge of the cause. He was young and 
strong, and entered with great heart into the work. A 
strong tide of emigration from the old country to Portland 
Bay had set in, and Mr. Lightbody is gratefully remembered 
by many, for the kindly interest he took in them on their 
arrival, and for advice and help in the outset of their career. 
Messrs. Salmon, Bye, Cook, Satchell, Jarrett, and other 
valuable brethren arrived at this time. Mr. Lightbody's Cir- 
cuit extended to Belfast and Warrnambool (then budding 
into existence). He encountered no little fatigue and peril in 
crossing the rivers, and in going from one side to the other 
of the Circuit, a stretch of nearly 100 miles. His heart, 
however, turned fondly towards the far west, as the needle 
trembles to the pole, for there at Bridge water was the fair 
"lady of the lake" (of the family above mentioned), who 
became his faithful wife, and is now his bereaved widow. 
Mr. Lightbody did good and faithful service in his 
generation, and ended his days in peace as a Supernumerary 
n the same Ciicuit. At Bridgewater and Drik Drik his 


family have entered into his labours. In 1851, the first 
stone Church, 25 x 25, was built, and in 1852 a bazaar was 
held to raise funds for the addition of a transept. Mr. Light- 
body, who had married and removed to TTarrnambool, was 
succeeded by the Rev. W. Tregellas, who had been recom- 
mended to this Conference by the Rev. R. Young. The times 
were hard, Belfast and Warrnambool were formed into 
another Circuit, the Quarterly Board was appalled at the pros- 
pect of supporting a married Miiaister, and some soi'eness and 
trouble ensued. Then followed in 1 85 6, Mr. Samuel Knight, 
a " supply" from the Prahran Circuit. He began, the next 
year, his successful Ministerial career, and in 1877 was Presi- 
dent of the South Australian Conference. His labours were 
greatly blessed and are still fondly remembered. In the 
years which followed, various Ministers were in charge, and 
the Bridgewater, Hey wood, and Wattle Hill Churches were 
built. In 1865, the Rev. F. Tuckfield was the Minister, 
and was esteemed very highly in love for his own and his 
work's sake. The present Church was then projected and 
commenced under very promising auspices. Mr. Tuckfield 
took a severe cold at a funeral, and in a few days, died in 
great peace. (For a fuller sketch of this faithful servant of 
God, see the story of the Buntingdale ^Mission before 
referred to.) The following sketch from the Rev. W. L. 
Blamires, of Hamilton, who preached Mr. Tuckfield's 
funeral sermon, may be added : — " ' When those snows melt 
there will be a great flood,' remarked one, referring to 
Robert Bolton's grey locks, and remembering the great 
affection with which he was regarded by his flock. This 
prediction had a fulfilment in the circumstances attending 
the death of Francis Tuckfield. There was great weeping 
when it was known that this good, laborious, and faithful 
pastor was dead. The Church made devout lamentation 
over him, the town was filled with mourning, and in distant 
places many a sorrowful pang was felt in the breasts of 
those who had known and loved him. To say that he was 
well known was to say that he was greatly beloved, for the 


one followed the other. He was not of the great men who 
excite wonder, but of the good men ' who inherit love.' ' A 
man to be beloved' was the uppermost thought, as one 
remembered him. Not the man of brilliant talent or of 
florid eloquence, but the man of goodness, the peacemaker, 
the warm-hearted friend, the Christian of loving spirit and 
courteous bearing, the afiectionate and unwearied pastor of 
Christ's Church." The death of the pastor proved the new 
life of many, and at the close of the funeral sermon just noted 
some eight or nine decided for Christ; among them the young 
son of the deceased, who then and there sought and found 
mercy, and consecrated his best powers and remaining life 
to the service of his father's God and people. He is labour- 
ing with enthusiasm and success as the Rev. John Hannah 
Tuckfield. Mr. Tuckfield's sudden death, together with a 
serious reverse in the prosperity and prospects of the place, 
brought the new Church undertaking to a standstill for 
twelve months. During the Ministry of the Rev. J. B. 
Smith the project was resumed and completed. The old 
Church was turned to good account, the materials of the 
first part were used in the new Sabbath schools, the two 
wings form the front of the present parsonage, while the 
porch is turned into a pantry or passage. The Rev. Messrs. 
Binks, Kniglit, and Blamires conducted the opening services 
of the new Church, and in the subsequent ministry of the 
Rev. R. M. Hunter, a valiant and successful efFort was 
made to bring down the debt. Mr. Hunter's ministry took 
a wonderful hold of the people, and greatly advanced 
Methodism. An interesting work was undertaken in the 
writer's time at Drik Drik, near Dartmoor, more than forty 
miles from Portland. It was a veritable " Church in the 
wilderness," raised by a small but hardy band of settlers on 
the lonely and romantic banks of the river Glenelg. The 
writer has a vivid recollection of the opening service. The 
Church was built of slabs and bark, with very rude seats 
and earthen floor. The afternoon service was attended by 
twelve swarthy bushmen, each one accompanied with a 



shaf^oy hound. The evening service was held around a 
blazing bush bonfire, for want of better light and room. 
The tea meeting was held next day at three o'clock, two 
young friends of the softer sex were imported for the occa- 
sion, and after a ride on horseback of some forty miles, 
proceeded to arrange the feast which was spread out on 
imaginary table-cloths in nature's own lap, and under the 
shady limbs of the trees of the wood. The Rev. W. Light- 
body sitting in his buggy, presided over the after meeting, 
and from the same forum, glowing and telling addresses 
were delivered. It was a real, primitive, backwood's scene, 
but it proved the start and nucleus of what has since 
developed into the Portland Bush Mission with some dozen 
preaching stations, and has done a large amount of good. A 
fine stone Sabbath school and a living Church of thirty 
members are flourishing there, while the Kitsons and Light- 
bodys of a younger generation are heartily carrying on the 
work which their fathers began. A similar bush Church 
has been erected at Mount Clay, at a cost of £20 for forty 
sittings, or at tha rate of 10s. a sitting. The Revs. George 
Schofield and Samuel Adamson entered the Wesleyan Min- 
istry from this Circuit, and are worthy representatives of 
families long resident in Portland, that are strongly attached 
to our cause. Hey wood is the centre of the Bush Mission, 
and has had, from an early date, a good society, of which 
Messrs, Remf ry, Satchell, and others were leading members. 
Mr. Thomas Alday graduated here as a Local Preacher, and 
has since become a Home Missionary, and a probationer in 
the Wesleyan ministry. The Circuit keeps a premier posi- 
tion in the Western District, in strength of numbers, 
although the commercial prosperity of Portland has been 
recently at a low ebb. The town is beautiful for situation, has 
a fine and sheltered harbour, and should become a summer 
and seaside watering place. Brighter days are yet in store. 
Belfast. — The beginning of Methodism at Port Pairy, as 
this place was first called, is somewhat obscure. The tiniest of 
grains of mustard seed, otherwise the kingdom of God, began 


to grow in the heart and home of a Mrs. Harris, of Duck- 
holes, now Rosebrook, near Belfast. Her house was on the 
River Moyne, " a place where prayer was wont to be made." 
Every Sabbath " a tract was read to a few assembled in the 
house, and then a Class or Prayer meeting was held for 
serious persons. She was a devoted Christian woman, 
whose look, lip, and life were employed for Christ, and 
who was very zealous in inviting the neighbours to this 
religious meeting." Her persuasions brought Daniel Love 
to the place. He was much impressed by the reading of a 
tract on " Eternity," though afraid to stay to the after 
meeting. Conviction, however, deepened into distress, and 
then into alarm, and on Easter Sunday the crisis came, 
suppressed groans and broken cries proclaimed, " Behold he 
prayeth," and friends gathered round him and pointed him 
to Christ. He was soon blessed with the joy of God's salva- 
tion. His old companions said he had lost his senses, but 
he had only lost his sins, and became henceforth a truly 
wise, sober, and holy man. He has long " adorned the 
Gospel of God his Saviour, " and been permitted to turn 
many to righteousness, — his name is still revered in the 
Western District. His case is a contrast to that of another 
brother who, at that time, like Diotrephes, loved to have 
the pre-eminence, and when, after a sermon by the Rev. F. 
Tuckfield on "the little foxes," he was rebuked for a fault, 
he resented it, and left the Church, seeking to scatter and 
divide the little flock in doing so. He has pursued an 
erratic course ever since. In 1848-9, visits were paid 
to the place by the Rev. F. Tuckfield and J. Harcourt. Mr. 
Witton resided on his farm at Bootapool, seven miles from 
Belfast, and at length took charge of the Class and work. 
In 1844, Mr. Jealous and Mr. William Watson and family 
arrived from Tasmania, and two years after, through the 
winning influence of Mrs. Harris and the mercy of God, 
Mr. and Mrs. Watson both realized the great change. Mr. 
Watson became a great help and stay to the cause for 
many years. A fortnight after his conversion he was 


appointed tract distributor for the whole town, then Prayer 
Leader, then he took part with Mr. M'Mahon in reading 
alternately from Jay's and Wesley's sermons in the little 
Church which had been built at Rosebrook. That building 
is now used as an hotel, and a larger Church has been 
erected near the site of the first. Of those days, Mr^ 
"Watson writes :— " Belfast consisted then of about fifty 
dwellings, mostly thatched huts, the streets were covered 
with grass and she-oaks, there was no money in the place,, 
but business was done by ' mullock ' as exchange was called. 
For leather, I had to take wheat, bran, butter, cheese, pigs,, 
and anything I could get. As pioneers we were satisfied 
and brought our mind to our circumstances. Colonists of 
the present day cannot form any conception of the trials 
and difiiculties the early settlers had to endure." And then 
he tells of his finding out the people of God, with its 
happy results. Belfast became, in a few years a sort of 
Immigration depot, for receiving and distributing new 
arrivals from the United Kingdom and Tasmania, and from 
1850 to 1854 many good Methodists in this way passed 
into the Western District. In 1854, the Rev. J. Albiston 
was appointed to this Circuit, and in 1855 the Rev. R. Hart 
(residing at Warrnambool). The Church at Belfast was at- 
that time a long, queer building 45 x 11, built skillion 
fashion, and familiarly called, " The Sailors' Chest." It was 
sold in 1869 for £9 ; on August 24th, 1855 the foundation of 
the present Church was laid by Mr. Witton. It was considered 
an imposing and elaborate structure, built in troublous or 
rather expensive times, at a cost of X1935 Is. 8d, or £7 lis. 
per sitting. The ornamental frontispiece or figure-head of 
"our venerable founder," as he appears in the old hymn 
books, was wrought in stone by an amateur sculptor, and 
valued at £60. It looks down benignly on the worshippers 
as they pass in at the Church door, or else at his first love, the 
Church of England on the other side of the street. Among 
the receipts towards the erection of this Church are £66 
13s. 4d. from the Buntingdale Mission Estate. In 1856, the 


Rev, M. Dyson was appointed as a young Minister to reside 
at Belfast. No Circuit horse was kept, and the young 
preacher's walks were long and sore. At Yambuk, Mr. 
Hindhaugh, from Geelong, had settled, amid a little cluster 
of Methodists, and preaching was held for a time in his 
house. The stone Church which is now a ruin, was erected 
during the Ministry of the Rev. Charles Lane, who was 
moved thereto by the failure of a scheme of a Union 
Church, and by the attempt of an impetuous little cleric to 
brand us with the sin of schism. In 1863-4, the Churches 
at Koroit and Kirkstall were built, and in 1865-7, under 
the ministry of the Rev. R. Hart, the old Church at Koroit 
was superseded by the present handsome structure, while 
the Kirkstall Church, through some mishap, was sold by the 
Government with the land on which it stood and turned by 
the lucky purchaser into a potato store. After long and 
harassing negotiations, the Government admitted the wrong 
it had done, and made compensation. During the Ministry 
of the Rev. R. Hart, three houses were purchased for the 
Parsonage. These were converted into the present Par- 
sonage in the time of the Rev. J. G. Turner, and the present 
Sunday school was erected. Some of our leading Ministers 
have taken their turn in this Circuit, and of devoted 
Laymen who have stood by it from the first, grateful 
mention should be made of ^Mr. J. Bedford, W. Watson, 
and J. Scott, and of Messrs. R. Skilbeck and William 
Midgley, of Koroit, two out of several worthy branches 
of a large family of Yorkshire Methodists who settled 
at Yangery Grange in the early days, whose generous 
hearts beat warm and true to all the interests of our Church. 
Elect ladies in this Circuit as Mrs. Youngman, of Belfast, 
and Mesdames W. Midgley, Skilbeck, and Gray of Koroit, 
have been distinguished by their Christian devotedness and 
large-hearted hospitality. Of late years the Circuit has 
been blessed with the ministries of the Rev. H. Baker, 
W. Brown, J. W. Tuckfield, R. Osborne Cook, and Charles 


Warenambool. — This thriving township was laid out 
in 1847, and settled mainly by arrivals from Tasmania, 
Melbourne, and Portland, among whom were a few 
Methodists. Mr. Witton is said to have preached the first 
sermon in this place in an hotel. Mr. John Smitli, of 
Byaduk, a name dear to Methodists in the Western 
District, resided here in 1850-6, and his little child was 
the first corpse interred in the Wesleyan Cemetery. In 
the year he worked for Cassidy (Oassidy's punt on the 
Merri River), he astonished the neighbours by his prodigious 
feats in the threshing line, threshing in one season with 
the flail (threshing machines were not yet in fashion), 
1700 bushels of wheat. He was one of a little flock of 
faithful men, who " feared the Lord and spake often one 
to another." The others were Messrs. Goodall, Goldstraw, 
John Hughes, &c., remarkable men, brought to God in 
Tasmania in the old times. We have heard the one tell in 
graphic style of his conversion to God in a saw-pit, and 
another give touching stories of early Methodism at 
Deloraine and Wesley Dale "on the other side." They were 
rejoicing in the simplicity and glow of their first love, and 
kept alive the kindled flame. Another member of the 
little band was equally earnest and forward ; but proved 
weak and unstable, and often fell away. Speaking of 
himself at the Class meeting as " a brand plucked from the 
burning," the Rev. Wm. Butters, who was leading the 
Class, replied, " a burnt log will soon catch fire again, take 
care lest you catch fire again and your last end be worse 
than the first," a warning which seemed prophetic of his 
sad end, for he died a few years after, friendless and 
miserable in the Hamilton Hospital. Mr. Denny, an 
earnest and useful member of our Church in Launceston, 
arrived at this time. He had been the friend and companion 
of the Rev. C. H. Goldsmith, of the S.A. Conference, 
associated with him in Messrs. Henty's office, and converted 
to God about the same time. In 1850 he was a prominent 
tradesman in Warrnambool, (Messrs. Craig and Denny, and 


then Messrs. Denny and Stevens), and states that at that 
time a small Sabbath school was in existence, under the 
care of himself and his young wife. "When the Rev. J. 
Harcourt, on his visit to the Western District in 1850, 
preached in Mr. Denny's auction room, the little children 
were perched upon and stowed away among the sacks of 
wheat, which were heaped up in the store. Mr. and 
Mrs. Denny and John Smith possessed capital singing 
powers, and made the service interesting and attractive. 
At this time the first stone Church was put up. — rough and 
rude in its construction, it soon began to crack and fail, and 
had to be supported by props and crutches. Mr. Watson, 
of Belfast, says that it was built over a wombat hole, or at 
least surrounded by wombat holes and sheoak trees. 
When in 1855 the present Church was erected, it was built 
over or around the old one, so as to have the latter for 
service while the new building was going on. The first 
resident Ministers were severally, Messrs. Lightbody, 
Albistou, and Hart. During the ministry of the latter 
the Dennington Church was built, in faith, at a cost of 
£100, and then a tea-mesting held to pay for it. John 
Hughes, who resided in this place, offered £5, and waxing 
warmer, added, "Nay I would give £10." until pacing 
the Church in his emotion, he exclaimed, " Nay, I believe 
I would give £20 if the Church could be paid for," and 
thus provoked and challenged, the sum was soon raised. 
"John Hughes" is a name on which one loves to linger, for 
the grace of God had set him in point of moral worth 
among the princes of the people. In 1863 the writer 
found him his Circuit Steward, although he could neither 
read nor write, such was the deep interest he took in the 
work of God, and the honor and reverence with which he 
was regarded. The Rev. W. lightbody and others, who 
knew him in his prime, loved him to the uttermost, and 
cherish his name and memory, and the photo of his homely, 
happy face with pious and enthusiastic affection. The 
Dennington Church did good service for some years, 


althoug;]! in the midst of an alien Roman Catholic popula- 
tion. One simple soul, emulating the generous style of the 
" alabaster box of ointment very precious," provided us 
with some choice currant cake for the sacramental bread, 
while another humorous or penurious brother, in a year 
when all the crops, except " spuds" (the staple of the dis- 
rict), had failed, proposed that instead of the ordinary tea- 
meeting, we should have one of fried potatoes ! Churches also 
were erected at Wangoom and Woodford, and the usual inci- 
dents of Circuit history, bazaars, revivals, changes, deaths, «fec. 
have taken place. The reserve in which the Church stands 
is very central and valuable, and portions of it have been 
disposed of to advantage. The ministry of the Rev. Thomas 
James attracted influential families to the Church during 
his stay. In 1872, the Western District was constituted 
under the chairmanship of the Rev. G. Daniel, and ever 
since the chairman has resided at Warrnambool. Space 
precludes the mention of the worthy Ministers and faithful 
Laymen, past and present, who have helped to " build the 
t^^mple of our God," in this Circuit. Though no longer 
within our borders, mention may be made of Mr. F. P. 
Stevens, a leading townsman, who, grateful for a noble 
Methodist parentage, was, in early years, a liberal supporter 
of our Church, and an active worker in our Sabbath school. 
The Rev. Charles Jones, of New South Wales, made his 
first effort in preaching the Gospel, within the bounds of 
this Circuit. 

Hamilton. — In 1855 a grant of £20 was made by the 
Missionary Committee in Sydney, to enable the Rev. W. 
Tregellis, of Portland, to visit and report upon Hamilton, or 
"The Grange," as it was then called. He found a small 
mixed lot of Methodists, lately come from Belfast, and settled 
at Muddy Creek, near Hamilton, consisting of Wesleyans, 
Primitives, Reformers. A few Independents, and Baptists 
also resided there. With such conflicting views, they were 
unwilling to combine for common worship, even though 
enjoying the common salvation. In the township proper 



were found an English Methodist lady, Mrs. Wiggins 
(Blastock) and a few others, who heartily sympathized 
with the object of the Minister's visit. These, in the 
town were further strengthened by the welcome arrival 
and addition of Mr. Peter Learmonth to their number. He 
has, from the first, been a devoted and generous supporter 
and member of the Church. In 1859, the Rev. E. B. Burns, 
from Belfast, visited the place, and in 1861, the Rev. H. 
Baker was appointed the first Minister of the Hamilton 
Circuit. Mr. Baker was well received, and his services 
were highly appreciated by the general and christian public. 
They were held first in the old National school, and then 
in the old Mechanics' Institute. Hamilton is the centre and 
capital of a famous pastoral district, in which Presbyterian- 
ism predominates, while Methodism, as in Scotland, takes a 
somewhat restricted and qualified form. The district is also 
somewhat unique in its physical, as well as its social and 
religious features. Bishop Moorhouse has described, in 
beautiful word painting, the rolling, billowy aspect of the 
far-famed Muntham Downs, and the magnificent country 
around Tahara and Merino ; while the Wannon and Nigretta 
Falls, and the curious volcanic phenomena of the region, 
were described in the Methodist Spectator of 1881. Under 
the attractive ministry of the Rev. H. Baker, our Church 
made a good start, and took a high place in public esteem. 
Mr. J. H. Scott, a worthy Wesleyan conducted for some 
time a Sabbath school for the Church of England. Some of 
the people were scandalized at his use of extempore prayer, 
and, to compromise the matter, the good Bishop Perry 
composed a short form of prayer for the occasion, and on 
inspecting the school, highly commended Mr. Scott's good 
work. Mr. Baker also visited Muddy and Murphy s Creeks, 
but with small results. The nondescript character of the 
religious elements found there, induced an experiment in 
Union Churches, which may "poin* a moral," if not "adorn 
a tale." At Murphy's Greek two such Churches were 
erected within a few yards of each other, the. one, used by 


the Independents and Baptists (about one family of each), 
has long been closed, the walls pretty well enfolded in 
emblematic sweet briar, and the furniture and library 
waiting to be claimed and appropriated some day. The 
other is used alternately by the Wesleyans and Primitives ; 
but the joint stock affair is very unprofitable, for with a 
mere handful of hearers, the building is dilapidated, and 
neither Church cares to incur responsibility or expense At 
Muddy Creek a Union Church was built with the under- 
standing that any of the subscribers removing to another 
part should still retain their interest in the building, or else 
be bought out for £7. Many removed to the Horsham 
district, but the financial stipulation was not kept. The 
building fell into ruin and decay, for it was liard to tell to 
whom it belonged. It is now renovated and occupied 
exclusively by the Primitive Methodists. In 1862, the Rev. 
E. B. Burns was appointed to Hamilton, and the present 
Church built. Other Ministers of varied gifts and excel- 
lencies followed. We may specify the ministry of the Rev. 
W. L. Blamires and R. M. Hunter, 1865, as being repre- 
sentative of these, and as possessing important and intrinsic 
attributes, which told for the lasting advantage of the 
Circuit. These Ministers were together on the ground, Mr. 
Hunter residing at Dunkeld, and they have both since 
attained the Presidential office. It is but bare justice, and 
surely not at variance with becoming modesty, for a col- 
league in this narrative to state how much Methodism 
in the "Western District owes to the wisdom and strength 
of the Rev. W. L. Blamires, both as Minister at Hamilton, 
and afterwards as Chairman of the Western District. Of 
the sterling qualities of his mind and heart, and of pen and 
tongue, there is no need to dilate. Long known to his 
closest friends and held in due reserve until wanted, they 
have, since his elevation to the chair of the Conference, 
become public property, and are patent to aU. The 
Hamilton Circuit at that time reached from Yuppekiar on 
the east to Green Hills on the west, and from Rosebrook, 


near Horsham, on the north to Macarthur on the south, 
an area of 90 x 56 miles. The places composing the Circuit 
were regularly vistecl once a month, entailing a great amount 
of travelling and fatigue. In small Churches or School 
houses, in the shepherd's hut, the shearer's woolshed, or the 
station parlour, the word of life was spoken, while the little 
ones were catechised, taught to say or sing their hymns, or 
heard their Scripture lessons appointed at a previous \'isit, 
and sometimes baptized in little clusters. After a cheerful 
cup of tea, kindly talk about " good things," and earnest 
prayer, the Minister would go on his way, leaving the 
leaven of the kingdom (Mark iv., 26-29) to work until the 
next visit, and the fruit was often found after many days. 
In May, 1865, was the famous Hamilton "Land Racket," 
being the great rush to take up land under " Grant's Act." 
Thousands of intending selectors swarmed into the town, or 
else scoured the adjacent country to spy out the land. The 
weather was very wet and stormy, and the roads, owing to 
so much traffic, became frightful with Hamiltonian mud of 
the worst description. Day after day multitudes pressed 
into the Land office to take their chance at the Land Ballot 
box, the name coming out first from the wheel of fortune, 
having a right of selection in first class agricultural areas 
around. The huge iron building, erected as a temporary 
Land office, and in which, it is said, land to the value of 
some millions sterling was disposed of, was standing only a 
short time since. The Ministers endeavoured to improve 
the occasion by preaching near the spot at eight o'clock in the 
morning, on the week day, and at three p.m. on the Sunday, 
in the open-air, to the crowds waiting the opening of the office 
or visiting the town. They were urged to " buy the truth, 
and seek an inheritance in heaven" ; and the word was not in 
vain. The Cavendish Church was also built at this time, 
and afterwards used as a Sunday school at Hamilton. In 
Mr. Albiston's time, tlie new parsonage was erected, and in 
Mr. J. B. Smith's day a successful bazaar relieved the 
Circuit of the debt on the same. The visits of Messrs. W. 


Taylor, M. Burnett, and W. Osborn have left tide marks of 
religious blessing and influence. The cause at Byaduk is 
of a hearty and pleasing character. The service was held 
for a time at John Smith's, and then, during the 
ministry of the Rev. E. B. Burns, the present Church was 
built, and has been consecrated by many blessings. The 
members were united and numerous ; a strong leaven of 
vital godliness pervaded the village, and from this place 
"sounded out" the word of God, and in the Horsham 
District and Gippsland, their "faith to God-ward is spread 
abroad, so that we need not speak anything." John Smith 
has been for many years the Leader here, and deserves more 
than passing mention. As a farm lad in Devonshire he had 
rueful experience of hard and almost cruel toil, and his 
prodigious feats of strength and work in after years have 
surprised many. This energy characterized him in the cause 
of God, and he spared neither time nor toil, nor means, nor 
life, nor limb, when there was a chance of getting or doing 
good. He could travel to Ballarat to get a blessing, or to 
Portland to find a kindred spirit who " had the power." 
Power was the ruling element of his new nature, and ran 
through his prayers and experience like golden threads 
through a royal robe. He loved a revival, as the songster 
loves his song, but it must be, as Ivan Preston called it, "a 
menseful (solemn) revival" and was judged, not by the noise, 
but the power there was in it, the power of the Spirit and the 
force of truth. He had a clear grasp of the plan of salvation, 
and a touching and pathetic way of speaking of the " wrath 
to come." In company somewhat silent and suppressed, but 
on his knees a prevailing prince with God. The well-worn 
family Bible, used morning, noon, and night for family wor- 
ship, told of his love for the Psalms and the words of the Lord 
Jesus, and few could use them (even the deep vast words of 
the fourth gospel), or the plaintive phrases of the Psalms, or 
the less familiar lines of shaded beauty found in our Hymn 
Book, with greater feeling and effect. With all this solid 
worth there was a vein of play in him, and he had the old 


English love of sport. He can use a gun, put up a hare, or 
draw out a trout with enthusiasm and delight. The writer 
remembers the keen zest with which he joined him in 
stocking the Byaduk Creek with English trout. His 
jubilee offering was in memory of Richard Heales, " who 
gave the poor man a chance of getting a home ! " for it was 
under his administration that the Occupation licenses took 
effect. That home with its prophet's chamber, and generous 
hospitalities, stands on the banks of the beautiful and 
perennial Byaduk Creek, whose waters Mr. Smith has 
turned to good account. In that home faithful sermons 
have been preached, and souls have found the Saviour ; 
young beginners and dying saints have been cheered and 
comforted, and the daily incense of praise and prayer have 
made it a Bethel of blessing, and power ; and, to those who 
have known it for twenty years, it seems thus seasoned 
and " consecrated for evermore." " He shall be like a tree 
planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit 
in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever 
he doeth shall prosper." The influence of this holy man 
of God and of other kindred spirits make Byaduk a bright 
spot in the Hamilton Circuit, while the personal worth and 
, social standing of Mr. Peter Learmonth as a Christian and 
a citizen, and the active sympathy and generous help of the 
Wiffeins' and Learmonths' on the one hand, and the 
uno-rudging labours of devoted Local Preachers on the 
other, have served to sustain the cause and comfort the 
Minister's heart. The Rev. J. Y. Simpson was converted 
to God, and began his course as a Local Preacher in 
Hamilton. He has long been a popular and successful 
Minister in South Australia. 

MoRTLAKE was visited by the Rev. J. B. Smith from 
Warrnambool in 1864, and by the Rev. W. L. Blamires, 
when passing through to Geelong on October 31st, 1865. 
Mr. Lowe, storekeeper, was the chief representative of 
Methodism in the place, he kindly welcomed our Ministers 
who visited it, and urged its claims as a field of labour. 


Mr. Blamires presented the case at the following District 
meeting, and the Rev. "W. H. Fitchett, who, while assisting 
the Rev. T. Raston at Warrnambool, had visited Mortlake, 
was appointed its first Minister (1866). Mr. John Pearson, 
a liberal friend of our Church, resided for some time at 
Shadwell Park, and Mr. Mark James was for many 
years a faithful stay and help to our Church. Mr. Thomas 
Shaw, of Wooriwyrite, brother of Mr. Jonathan Shaw, 
of the Richmond Circuit, was a liberal friend to our 
Church in early times, as Mr. Montgomery has been in 
later times. The Circuit has been supplied with energetic 
young Ministers, but much migration of the people has 
taken place. It is not strong in numbers, and Terang 
and Camperdown, which had existed for nine years as a 
separate Circuit, were in 1876 added to it. Messrs. 
Hillard, Wykes, Hughes, Heard, Hindhaugh, Edge, (of 
Jancourt), and others, have stood by the cause from the 
first. In 1880, the Rev. W. L. Blamires, the Chairman of 
the District, with the Rev. E. O. Knee, visited the area 
now known as the Heytesbury Forest, on an exploring 
mission, and under his management, Cobden, Carpendeit 
and other places, reaching as far as Port Campbell, were 
detached from the Mortlake Circuit, and put under the care 
of a Home Missionary, Mr. A. J. Wade, while Mr. Cole, of 
Carpendeit (an indefatigable Local Preacher), and others, 
were his faithful co-workers. 

Pensiiurst. — The Penshurst Church was built during 
the Ministry of the Rev. H. Baker. The place had been 
previously visited by the Rev. E. B. Burns, from Belfast. 
He found there the Wesleyan families of Walters, Shad- 
dock, Porter, and others to welcome him. Mr. Walters, 
who had been a Local Preacher in England, had suffered 
some relapse through the rough hardships and changes of 
Colonial life. On one occasion he came upon a bullock dray 
encamped in the bush, and was attracted and arrested by 
the voice of prayer. The camp fire and the silence of the 
bush, broken only by the weird clang of the bullock bell, 


invested the figure of this wrestling Jacob with strange 
interest. It was " John Smith" of Byaduk, at his evening 
devotions. He was on his way with the team to the 
diggings, and the fervour of his spirit then and often caused 
him to pray aloud. The scene and prayer recalled other 
days, revived former impressions, and re-touched a chord 
which had long lain silent and unstrung. He was brought 
again to rejoice in God his Saviour, and became an active 
labourer and acceptable Local Preacher in Penshurst, 
Hamilton, Horsham, Warragul, etc. The Rev. J. W, 
Tuckfield was the first resident Minister at Penshurst. In 
his time a gracious revival took place, and amongst those 
converted were Earl, Deutscher, Schonfeldt, and others who 
have kept the faith and abide unto this day. In 1871, 
Penshurst began its career as a separate Circuit, with the Rev. 
T. Adamson its first Superintendent. Churches were now 
built at Dunkeld, Yuppeckiar, Hawksdale, etc. The Circuit 
has long been in an easy position, thanks to the steady and 
generous help of Silas Harding and Co. The Circuit is 
fortunate in having such living and active friends as IMessrs. 
R. Howell, Woodburn, M'Intyre, Thurgood, Cameron, and 
others. Mr. R. Howell, of Devon Park, has fostered the 
rising interests of this Circuit by his unwearied labours as 
a Local Preacher, and by his munificent gifts and hospitality. 
This healthy neighbourhood has proved a choice nursery 
and training school for Ministers' wives, for Mesdames 
Hunter and Reed, of South Australia, and Leslie, of the 
Blackwood Circuit, were of families resident in this Circuit. 
In that respect it has been a garden of the Lord. 

Merino. — In the "minutes "of 1864 the words "one 
wanted" stand against the Portland Circuit, evidently 
referring to Merino, which had just before been visited by 
the Rev. F. Tuckfield, and afterwards by the Rev. J. B 
Smith from Portland, and then in 1866 by the Rev. W. L 
Blamires and R. M. Hunter, from Hamilton. Mr. Blamires 
preached in the Presbyterian Church, Merino, and then in 
the Anglican Churches, at Digby and Casterton, by the kind 


permission of the late Rev. Dr. Russell, a true " father in 
God " for the large district of the Wannon, a man of 
Christian spirit and liberal views, and greatly respected by 
all classes. Further visits followed and services were held 
at Casterton, Merino, Rifle Downs, etc. In 1867, Merino was 
made a Circuit with the Rev. R. M. Hunter, its first 
Minister. In 1868, the Merino Church, a "dummy" and 
blank for beauty, was built and opened. The tea meeting 
was held in the billiard room of Mack wood's Hotel, 
and addressed by Mr. P. Learmonth, chairman, and Messrs. 
J. J. Watsford, Hunter, and J. B. Smith. During the 
years which followed up to 1882, Churches were built at 
Digby, Coleraine, Casterton, etc. Mr. Hunter was inde- 
fatigable in his labours, and very popular. The Rev. James 
J. Watsford was very earnest, and established what Mr. 
Hunter founded. Enterprising Ministers followed in the 
Rev. J. H. A. Ingham, who tried to extend the borders 
of the Circuit to the northward and met with some adven- 
tures on the Chetwynd in doing so, being on one occasion 
nearly drowned in the Glenelg ; in the Rev. E. Orlando Knee, 
active, genial, sound as a Preacher, and diligent as a 
Pastor ; in the Rev. Robert Brown, vigorous, portly, hearty; 
and in other young Ministers who found this an excellent 
field for physical and spiritual exercises. The families of 
Mr. Mark James and Mr. Maxwell of Coleraine, Illingworth 
of Casterton, Ford, and Jelbart of Merino, and the Methodist 
families of Karapook, have been staunch supporters of our 
work in this Circuit. 



The site of Beechworth is on the centre of radiating 
ranges or on a crowning height of surrounding eminences. 
A high table-land itself, the region immediately adjacent 


for the most part falls into more or less steep declivities 
and deep contracted gullies, whilst towards Reed's Creek 
the landscape is scarped by an immense precipice. Go into 
it from almost what quarter you may, you can only reach it 
by climbing miles of steep gradients and winding about 
gullies and hills. The railway train which has so great a 
liking for the smooth even track must here go out of its 
ordinary course of dead level or easy ascent, and the iron 
horse puffs at a tremendous rate as it is propelled up the 
steep incline leading out of Tarra^vingee plain to the 
Beechworth table-land. Once reaching it, one is well 
repaid for the toil. From the township or near to it can 
be seen the ranges bordering Black Dog Creek and Indigo 
on the N.W., and those enclosing the upper waters of the 
Yackandandah and Clear Creeks on the east, whilst further 
away to the other points of the compass are the Warby 
Ranges and the magnificent peaks and bluffs of the Buffalo 
Range. The region of which Beechworth is the metropolis 
is well watered, in that respect the best in the Colony, 
next to Gippsland, and the scenery is exceedingly diversified. 
Hill and dale, plain and vale, high ranges and river fiats, 
towering mountains where the rain-clouds make their liome 
and drop their fatness, and long reaches of levels where rivers 
such as the Murray, Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens, are in winter 
time hasting on their racing floods, or in summer wan- 
dering lazily aloncr, ' melancholy, slow,' please the eye and 
inspire the soul of the cultured traveller with their placid 
grandeur, or impress him with the fertility of the virgin 
soil and the rich pastures that are spread around. In 
this district are many tracts of country that well repay 
the toil of the agriculturist, while others delight the eye 
of the artist and those spirits which haunt the woods and 
waterfalls. The changing leafage and verdure, as the 
seasons keep their march, the beauteous and variegated 
flowers, when spring has gemmed the carpet of the earth, 
the clustering grapes, the ripened fruits, the beauteous 
crops of corn, which show that Pomona and Ceres have 


been *' greeting 'neath autumn's spiriting smile," are a 
varied, yet complete, rural picture. But the harvest has 
been gathered only of late years. In the early years of 
occupation, wool and gold rather than grapes and grain were 
the prime factors in bringing population and in promoting 
settlement. The first settlers came across the Murray 
border, somewhat in the track of Messrs. Ho veil and Hume, 
and Sir Thos. Mitchell. Mr. Faithful, one of the pioneers, 
met with a tragic fate early in the period of settlement, 
being killed by the black natives. Other settlers, such as 
Mackay, Reid, Osborne, Mitchell, (of Little River), had more 
peaceful and prosperous times, but the region was sparsely 
occupied until the era of the gold discoveries. Adventurers, 
as hardy and busy as the first settlers, although more migra- 
tory, came at the beck of gold. The '■'■ auri fames" brought 
first a few prospectors then a horde of gold diggers, who 
searched the gullies and climbed the hills and spread 
over table-lands and " flats," wheresoever it was likely that 
gold could be found. An early encampment of them took 
place at Reed's Creek, and its upper part, entitled Spring 
Creek. Very rich yields wei-e found by the lucky delvers 
who came first, turning over the earth and making it into 
mounds and anthills in search of the precious metal. At a 
later period, on the same creek but below the ' woolshed falls,' 
some almost fabulous amounts were secured by those who 
paddocked, that is took out rectangular blocks of the 
surface soil, till, perhaps, at a depth of from .50 to 100 feet, 
they reached the payable washdirt in which had mingled 
the golden sands. Later on in years, and lower down 
the creek in position, the Eldorado, as it was called, 
became a payable goldfield, costly and difiicult in its 
working, but yielding for a season handsome returns. The 
alluvial diggings in this region for the most part followed 
the course of existing streams, and had not that feature, so 
marked in other regions, of the workings being in old river 
beds, whei'e the former current, blocked up,had been turned 
into another and somewhat distant channel by lava or 


basaltic overflow, or by freak, convulsion, or other action of 
nature, so that the old stream having laid its deposit of 
gold had been thrust aside and left a dry channel or gutter, 
where exploring diggers or miners could find the stored-up 
treasure on which their hearts were set. From a claim on 
the Woolshed Creek (that is, Reed's Creek in its lower part) 
a few yards in length, were taken out by Johnson ct Co. 
some £70,000 in a few months' of working. Other claims 
near to this worked by Messrs. Cameron, Lonie, Strickland, 
Chandler and others were almost equally rich. 

Beechworth was the name given to the Government 
township surveyed near the Spring Creek diggings. It is a 
splendid spot for a town, and has been much beautified and 
adorned with the nice cottage residences, wide streets, 
having substantial stores and shops, and the trees, mostly 
from stocks that are indigenous to other lands, that have 
luxuriantly grown up within its precincts. 

Methodists were among the swarm of diggers that came 
to Spring Creek in 1852-3. Amongst the first arrivals 
belonging to our Church, and who stayed sufliciently long 
to take part in founding and establishing the local cliurch. 
were Messsrs. Chas. Williams, E. Abbot, Coade, Gillard, 
Hunt, Stevens, Reynolds, Taylor, Symons, Tinckler. Mr. C- 
Williams had been a prominent member of the Church in 
Tasmania, on his removal to Spring Creek (or May Day 
Hills as the locality of Beechworth was then called), in 
1852, he commenced services by taking his stand under a 
gum tree in Madman's Gully, and with Bible and Hymn 
Book in hand he sang, prayed, and expounded the Word of 
God. He describes the prevailing indifference to religion 
and wickedness. " At this time I had no one to help me, 
most about me were engaged, some in cutting wood, others 
in cleaning gold, others were drunk and fighting, but no 
one interrupted me, and a few gathered round me." The 
services were continued and the gathering increased in 
number on the subsequent Sabbaths, so that he felt embold- 
ened to purchase a large tent for £20 and fit it up for use 


as a place of worship. Some friendly miners cut slabs and 
made seats without charge. Shortly after a Local Preacher 
from Cornwall came to his help, and then a second from 
another part who rendered important aid, so that the 
Sunday Services were regularly kept up. It was the old 
story repeated. The private member and the Local Preacher 
extemporized services, gathered the band of praying people 
together, founded the Church, and then sought the aid of 
the Minister and the full development of Christian ordi- 
nances. No stationed Minister was nearer than Mt. 
Alexander or Melbourne in a southward direction, although 
Ministers of other Denominations were, we believe, by this 
time living in Albury. The lay brethren sustained the 
services for nearly two years before any Ministerial visit 
was paid to them. Application, however, to the Chairman 
of the District was made for the appointment of a Minister, 
and one was promised on the arrival of six Ministers 
expected from England. As a proof of the eagerness of 
Mr. C. Williams herein, he gave liberally to the expense of 
these gentlemen in their cost of transit from the old 
country, and then, on the arrival of the Rev. Mr Akrill, 
provided for him, for six months, free of charge. Meanwhile 
Mr. Williams had procured first the use of an auction 
room lent for the holding of the meetings, and then with 
others set about the erection of a substantial schoolhouse 
of wood which cost from £1,100 to £1,200. Contributions 
of £50 each from Mr. Williams, Mr. A. Palmer, Mr. E. 
Vickery headed the list, and many others gave handsome 
donations. This school was erected on the valuable and 
central block of land on which our Church premises now 
stand. It was the only place of worship in the town for 
several years. Early in 18.54 Mr. Butters came on a visit 
to induct the promised Minister, Mr. Akrill. The journey 
was a difficult and formidable one, and accompanied with a 
few adventures of rough shaking and peril incident to the 
travel of those days, but they arrived duly and safely 
in Beechworth, to the great joy of the little flock which had 


been long awaiting them. The stay of Mr. Butters was 
short, but he visited Snake Valley (now Stanley) and 
Yackandandah, and good meetings were held there, but 
nothing remarkable or immediate came as the fruit of them. 
Unfortunately, for this small society, the mental and 
physical health of Mr. Akrill proved unequal to the strain 
of tliis pioneer work to which he was called. After a stay 
of a few months, temporary mental aberration compelled 
his absence from Beechworth, and finally from the Colony. 
This was a sad sequel to so promising a beginning, and 
much disheartened the few members. It was found impos- 
sible to procure another Minister for some time, yet again 
thrown on their own resources, the active members manfully 
grappled with the difficulty, and Messrs. Abbot and Gillard, 
with the help of Mr. Symons, preached regularly for some 
months, so that the services were maintained. Mr. and 
Mrs. Brooke had been appointed Master and Mistress of a 
day school opened in the Wesleyan building and did much 
for the education of the rising youth of the neighbourhood 
during several years. Mr. John Wilton with his amiable 
wife succeeded them. In October, 1855, the Rev. Mr. 
Symons paid a visit as the substitute for the Rev. Mr. 
Draper, who was prevented from fulfilling personally his 
engagement because of sudden illness. This Minister 
found the travel rough and uncomfortable even for liis 
experience. Jolting over bad roads and bush tracks, 
wading through creeks, threading the forest by tlie light of 
lamps which made the dimness a little way off denser and 
darker, rattling along at the rate of ten miles an hour, just 
clearing the stumps, avoiding the trees, falling into the 
ruts, the coach kept marvellously on the right track, during 
a ride which lasted night and day for about forty hours. 
This was a feat of endurance for the traveller not to be 
welcomed every day, but nevertheless having its enjoyment 
as a variety in travel. As tlie Jehu had a parson under 
his care, probably for the first time on this line of road, 
he managed to get his coach bogged in a creek about three 


in the morning. It was a good experiment to -see whether 
the parson would sink or swim, or what he would do 
under the circumstances. He turned to with the others to 
get the coach out, wading up to his knees in water, 
until after an hour's immense effort the coach was 
hoisted on to solid land, and the travellers continued 
on their way. Mr. Anthony Trollope many years after- 
wards wrote of travel in Victoria: — "A Victorian 
Coach with six or perhaps seven or eight horses, in the 
darkness of the night, making its way through a thickly- 
timbered forest at the rate of nine miles an hour, with 
the horses frequently up to their bellies in mud, with 
the wheels running in and out of holes four or five feet 
deep, is a phenomenon which I should like to have shown 
to some of those very neat mail coach drivers whom I used 
to know at home in the old days. I am sure that no 
description would make any one of them believe that such 
feats of driving wei-e possible. I feel that nothing short of 
seeing it would have made me believe it." 

This long and fatiguing journey mentioned brought 
Mr. J. C. Symons to kind friends and a hospitable 
home and people at the end. He preached in 

Beechworth on one Sabbath and opened a small Church in 
Albury on the next, and visited the Woolshed (on Reed's 
Creek), Yackandandah and Snake Valley diggings, and 
spent about ten days altogether in this part. This visit led 
to his appointment here in 1856, and to his residence 
for three years. 

Mr. Symons was appointed to this Circuit (if so it could 
then be called, which had but one outlying preaching ap- 
pointment beyond Beechworth) in the year 1856. He 
brought his power of administration and business habits to 
work the usual machinery of our Societies and to build a 
new Church. This was opened on Easter Day, 1857, by 
services conducted by the Rev. D. J. Draper. This 
enterprise of building was accomplished by the aid of 
liberal contributions from the members and adherents, but 


as the outlay was large and the building costly, a consider 
able debt was left to after-times. When this new Church 
of stone was erected, business was brisk, Beechworth was 
very flourishing, the storekeepers were doing a fine trade 
with the country round, the Woolshed diggings were at 
their best, besides fair prosperity at the Nine-Mile, Yack- 
andandah, and Buckland goldfields, so that the debt, which 
appeared to be relatively light in those prosperous times, 
became burdensome in the depressed times that came in 
after years. Beechworth had several strong business firms 
then connected with the Wesleyan Church, so that money was 
plentiful to sustain the Minister and carry on building 
operations. Indeed, in his first year of residence, Mr. 
Syraons' stipend was fully met by the income derived from 
marriage fees, which, with the Wesleyans in this Colony, 
have been diverted from the private fee of the ^Minister to 
the ordinary income of the Quarter Board which supports 
the Minister. This has been done by the concurrence of 
the Ministers concerned, who simply ask from their congre- 
gations a regular and sufficient income for tlieir family 
wants and the needs of a respectable appearance in society. 
The lucky diggers in those early days not infrequently gave 
£10 as a marriage fee, so that the amount derived from 
fees was a considerable source of Circuit income. Mr. 
Symons is always an instructive Preacher, and frequently 
deals in the pulpit with topics of the day, so that the 
congregation was well fed and sustained during his 
stay. He sought the mental improvement of the people 
and gave, now and again, his interesting lectures on 
"Nineveh," "Plurality of Worlds," etc., etc. These 
were chiefly given in connection with a Young Men's 
Association, which had, as the writer remembers, young 
and middle-aged men enrolled in its list, some of whom 
have attained to positions of eminence in the Legislature 
and Government of the Colony, as the Hons. G. B. Kerferd 
and J. McKean. As Mr. Symons helped to start the 
Young Men's Christian Association in London, he might 


be expected to have a fatherly interest in. them on this side 
of the world. The chief workers and supporters amongst 
the laymen at this period were Messrs. J. Wilton, C. 
Williams, Hunt, McLean, Nixon, J. Higgins, W. Higgins, 
Taylor, Gregory, Coade, Abbott. The Local Preachers 
were Abbot, Symons, Tinckler, G-illard, Bailey, and one or 
two others. There was but little opportunity for these 
brethren to exercise their gifts, as few places were on the 
Circuit plan. Beech worth was a Circuit with big head and 
puny body. Mr. Blamires came in May, 1857, to assist 
Mr. Symons in the working of the Circuit. Then, in 
addition to Stanley and the Woolshed, Yackandandah was 
taken amongst the preaching appointments. At the 
Woolshed was a canvas tent as preaching place and a feeble 
cause, which latter in a year or two dwindled away as the 
population went farther down the creek. The Stanley 
cause remained stationary for many years, but afterwards 
developed into a strong society. At Yackandandah Mr. 
Blamires opened the ground by preaching at the township, 
first in the open air, then in the billiard room of Jarvis' 
Hotel, and also in a Restaurant at Allen's Flat, five miles 
down the creek from the town. A few scattered Wesleyans 
were drawn together as a congregation, of which one or two, 
as Meldrum and some of his relatives, had been members in 
other places, but as yet no stable class could be formed. 
However, from this time a hold was kept upon the people, 
the fervour and power of the Methodist preaching began to 
tell, and under following Ministers and Agents the Method- 
ist tree struck root, branched out, blossomed, and bore fruit, 
so was formed the Yackandandah Circuit. But the plough- 
ing throughout the early period was on hard soil. Mammon 
largely and strongly held the ground. Yet the servants of 
God ploughed in hope. A few conversions took place, some 
souls were saved by pastoral visitation and in the sick 
room, but no revival came. Indeed, we are not aware that 
any great revival powerfully mo\4ng many classes and 
great numbers of the - people has marked the annals of 


Beechworth Methodism until a very recent day, during the 
visit of the young Evangelist, Mr. Nail. A gracious work 
lias taken place from time to time in several places, and 
Eldorado was the scene of a great awakening of sinful men 
and in-gathering of converts during the time of the Rev. 
J. D. Dodgson's Ministry, but the Ovens and Murray 
Methodist District had not been swept over by a tide of 
revival until the visit of the young Minister abovenamed, 
in the years of grace, 1883-4:. 

Prior to Mr. Symons' leaving, as his health required rest 
and change, the Rev. E. B. Burns was sent as a supply, 
and exercised an acceptable Ministry for some months. 
Then the Rev. J. W. Crisp was welcomed as the next 
Minister, and his stirring activity caused the branching out 
of the Circuit to Chiltern, Growler's Greek, and other 
outlying parts. The Rev. Robert S. Bunn was stationed at 
Yackandandah in 1861, and the little Church grew in 
numbers and piety under his fostering care. Mr. W. 
Welshman then joined the Church. "When Mr. Crisp left the 
Beechworth Circuit the returns had increased to 7 Churches, 
6 other preaching places. 111 members and 40 on trial. 
The Rev. Geo. B. Richards was his successor, and the 
Rev. Thos. Kane, was also appointed as the third Minister, 
but this added to the financial burdens by the swift 
increase in the Ministerial stafi", so that the Circuit was 
presently under the incubus of a heavy debt. Nobly Mr. 
Richards met the difficulty and travelled hundreds of miles 
in his efforts and excursions to extend the work and secure 
aid in removing the debt. His success was worthy of his 
effort. Ere he left Beechworth the debt was gone. The 
slowly-moving chariot wheels of the sun had gone their 
three courses all too quickly, in the estimation of the 
people, when the time for Mr. Richards' removal came, for 
he was held in great regard for his courteous spirit, 
faithful preaching, and indefatigable exertions. The Revs. 
D. Annear, James Taylor, and Thomas Edmeades had been 
ids colleagues in the work of a very widespread Circuit. 


Jn these years, Mr. Morrison, Local Preacher, would 
occasionally ride sixby miles on the Saturday from Yackan- 
dandah to the district of Growler's Creek and the Buckland, 
ride several miles and hold services on the Sunday, and 
return over the sixty miles on the Monday. Others showed 
a similarly laborious and self-denying example to further 
the cause of Christ in outlying regions. It was time that 
the extensive Circuit was divided. In 1865 the appoint, 
ments of Conference were — Beechworth, Andrew Inglis ; 
Growler's Creek, Thomas Edmeades ; Albury, Francis Neale. 
This latter location, especially, gave a new impetus to the 
work in Albury. Influential laymen rallied round Mr. 
ISTeale, in the persons of Dr. Hutchinson, Mr. Blackmore 
(Mayor for one year), Mr. H. Moflit, Mr. Samuel Burke, 
Mr. H. Lumley, and others. By the end of the year a new 
Church had been built, and was consecrated to Divine 
Worship by services held on December 3rd. Dr. Waugh, 
then President of the Wesleyan Conference, was the 
Officiating Minister. This was a centre from which 
Methodism spread to Wodonga, Indigo Creek, Corowa, 
Bethanga, and other places on the Murray River, or on 
tributary streams. 

Growler's Creek Circuit had several changes of name, 
becoming Morse's Creek in 1866, and afterwards being 
designated Wandiligong and Bright Circuit. It embraces a 
considerable territory nigh to the Ovens River in tlie upper 
reaches of it. It has extended from Harrietville, bordering 
the high and snowy ranges to Myrtleford in the Ovens 
Valley. Messrs. Gillard, Nuttall, Cook, Schofield, have 
been devoted laymen who have wrought with others to 
make this the flourishing Circuit, with its fine central Church 
and outlying stations, which it has become. The Revs. T. 
Grove, D. Annear, J. Seccombe, Henry Moore, W. Williams, 
A. Inglis, H. Merriman, C. Sanders, W. S. Worth, and R. 
Osborne Cook have been successively the Pastors. 

Eldorado and Wangaratta were integral parts of the 
Beechworth Circuit for a time, afterwards they were formed 


with Everton into a Circuit. Whilst Eldorado was flourish- 
ing as a mining community it was the head of the Circuit, 
but since its decline, and the steady growth of the 
neighbouring agricultural township, "Wangaratta has become 
the chief place. It has a neat and beautiful edifice as a 
"Wesley an Church, opened in 1885. Messrs. Sennett and 
Foxcroft have been useful supporters of the Church and 
active labourers in this township and Circuit. The Revs. 
C. H. Ingamells, W. Burridge, J. Adams, J. A. Osborne, 
may be named as active Ministers in this region. 

Benalla was long left untouched by the Wesleyans, 
although as a township it dates prior to Beech worth. 
But when agricultural settlement took place so extensively 
upon the Broken River and in the Goulburn Valley, and in 
the places adjacent, Methodism sent its forces to occupy 
those fields contained now in the Benalla and Shepparton 
Circuits and the Yarrawonga Home Mission. Benalla was 
the first station occupied by the Wesleyan Home Missionary 
Society of Victoria, and the Agent selected, Mr. Donnes, 
was peculiarly fitted for pioneer work. Full of grace, ardent 
by disposition, with indomitable zeal, he soon planted the 
Methodist stock in Benalla, Euroa, and other places, and 
after some years of successful labour he handed over the 
Station in so flourishing a state to his sirccessor that it was 
at once equal to the support of a married ^Minister. 
He was assisted by many good laymen, and the Benalla 
Circuit continues one of the most prosperous in the Ovens 
and Murray District. The region between the Goulburn 
River and the Murray River has been strongly occupied by 
Methodism, owing largely to energetic young Ministers as 
the Revs. John J. Brown, D. S. Lowe, J. Nail, S. Cuthbert, 
A. M'Callum, and D. J. Flockart, and the influx of many 
earnest Laymen. The Shepparton and Numurkah Circuits 
are prospering, and have well repaid the zealous labour 
spent upon them. 

The whole District received a great impetus by a recent 
visit of the Evangelist, the Rev. Mr. Nail. When that 


form of Agency was decided upon by the Conference, this 
was the first District to which Mr. Nail was sent, and he 
fully proved the wisdom of his appointment, and the fire 
and fitness with which he could carry on such work by 
conducting a most successful Mission in the several Circuits 
of the District. The results of that Mission and the 
transfer of the Shepparton Circuit, formerly pertaining to 
another District, have made this Ovens District, formerly 
weak in numbers, to become of the respectable numerical 
strength of over 1,000 members and 6,600 adherents. 
Methodism was attracted to this region at first because of 
the mining adventures and settlements, but it now finds its 
chief strength in the agricultural areas. The District is well 
watered, or capable of advantageous irrigation at relatively 
small cost, so it is likely to support a prosperous farming 
population, for centuries to come. The Methodist Tree has 
been firmly planted, has taken deep root, and will flourish 
with the District. Its fruit in an orderly, strong community, 
will be " unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Many 
that have sat, and will sit, under its branches with delight 
will eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God. 



Ararat was the first part occupied by the Methodists in 
that wide region adjacent to the Grampians which lies 
to the east, north, and west of that Mountain range. 
The rush of miners had brought thousands of people to 
the Ararat goldfield in 18.55-6. Amongst these some 
earnest Methodists instituted the public worship of God, 
and their social means of grace. The first place of 
worship erected was the Wesleyan Chapel, towards the end 
of the year, 1856, a Sunday School was established, and 18 


Members met in Class. When the people dispersed and 
migrated in quest of gold, the Chapel was taken down, 
and the services on the Lord's Day were conducted for a 
while in the open air. In June 1857, the Chapel was again 
erected on the Canton Lead. The population increased, 
and the accommodation was too scanty in the canvas tent, so 
it was superseded by a larger structure, one of weatherboard 
which could seat 200 persons, and cost £160. This sum was 
raised by the time the opening services had been completed. 
Mrs. Wardman of Cathcart near to Ararat, was one of the 
first to open her place or tent for preaching, and gather 
together the few young people for a Sunday School. She 
is a fine spirited woman, shrewd, hearty, with good business 
capacity and earnest piety. Her Yorkshire Methodism 
shewed itself of a hardy stock when tran-^planted to this 
new soil. For over twenty years, she has been an earnest 
Teacher and Class Leader at Cathcart and Stawell. Other 
Methodists had banded together at Ararat, so that when 
the Rev. W. C. Currey visited the place in March, 18.58, 
journeying overland from Belfast, he found a neat building 
as a Chapel, and a cluster of members joined in church 
fellowship. He preached on Sunday, 11th, and in the 
Evening administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to 
35 persons. The Rev. W. Calvert from the Avoca Circuit 
was expected on the following Sal)bath. Mr. Currey states 
that at the time of his visit Ararat had 52 hotels, 40 
doctors, and an indefinite number of lawyers but only one 
Minister of the Gospel. At the time of his visit Ararat 
was losing its population through the scarcity of water ; 
and about 20,000 persons had congregated at Pleasant Creek, 
18 miles to the northward. The Wesleyans amongst this 
mass of people had repeated their tactics and efforts ; they 
stood up as witnesses for truth and righteousness, gathered 
a congregation, put up a tent as preaching place, and then 
sent off" a message to the nearest Circuit for Ministerial 
help. This cry " Come over and help us " was heard at 
Avoca. The " Cooee" from the Grampians was echoed by the 


Pyrenees. The Rev. William Woodall, an earnest Minister 
recently from England, then living at Avoca, took counsel 
with his Superintendent, the Rev. J. Albiston, and it was. 
agreed that the former should respond to the call from the 
westward. Accordingly, one Sunday morning Mr. Woodall 
started en route for Pleasant Creek ignorant alike of the 
way and the distance to be traversed. He however arrived 
at his proper destination about 7 o'clock in the evening 
after a wearying ride of over 50 miles, and found himself 
the welcome although unexpected guest of Mr. Brown,, 
storekeeper. The same evening he went to the Canvas 
Church and found a number of people met for prayer, and 
he was glad to join in their petitions that the tent they 
had erected might become a Bethel to many a weary Jacob, 
and the birthplace of many souls. The Minister's coming- 
was a surprise to the people, but the occasion of great joy. 
The next day the opening Services were held, and the 
gladness of both pastor and flock was greatly augmented, 
as several persons were converted. Amongst the number was 
one who became a Minister of the Methodist Free Churchy 
the Rev. D. Porteous. The place cost £110, and was estimated 
to hold between 200 and 300 persons. Another place of 
worship was opened by Mr. Geo. Middleton (now of Carlton) 
on June 31st, 1858, at Cathcart, and a Sunday School was 
gathered. Preaching was also begun at Great Western, mid- 
way between Ararat and Pleasant Creek, and by March 1859, 
a tent had been set up for worship, and from its first site had 
been removed to a spot more convenient for the population. 
Mr. Middleton, as Local Preacher, and Class Leader, was 
held in the highest esteem, and was unwearied in his labour. 
He was a wise counsellor, and most acceptable Preacher. 
After Mr. Woodall's first visit he came once a month, 
until, on the petition of the people, he was appointed as the 
Circuit Minister in December, 1859. He took cheerfully 
the oversight of the work and the care of the Churches. 
Around the preaching of Christian truth and doctrine as 
a centre, he set in motion branching and radiating Christian. 


ordinances and activities, which, as wheels to a conveyance, 
made the Chariot of the Gospel move onward. He had 
willing helpers in the Local Preachers who not only con- 
ducted Sabbath Services, but gave freely of their money to 
build the Churches. A devoted Class Leader, Mr. Batten, 
did the work of erecting a Church at Canton Lead, free of 
expense to the Society. Preaching was begun at Moyston 
and Armstrongs, and at many places now embraced in the 
Ararat and Stawell Circuits. At Moyston the ^Methodist 
Church owes much to the liberality of Mr. M. Bowe and Mr. 
and Mrs. Clarke, of Lexington Station, who have also been 
most bountiful in their entertainment of the several Ministers 
and visitors who came to conduct services at the house or 
Church. Mrs. Wardman gave Mr. Woodall a home under 
her hospitable roof for several weeks. The grace of liberality 
has been conspicuous in the history of these Circuits. Yet 
they have had their financial difficulties. In after years 
the new Church at Ararat had a heavy burden of debt. 
In Stawell also, the strain for the reduction of Church 
liabilities and the support of the Minister by one congre- 
gation has been severely felt, especially in times of mining 
depression. Those were the struggles of after years. Of 
the early Churches, Mr. "Woodall writes — " The Canvas 
and Wooden Churches of those days, with their benches 
having no backs, with their gravel floors, were indeed 
unpretentious Sanctuaries, but God made them glorious 
with His presence and by manifestations of Christ's power 
to save. Young and old, the miner in his jumper, and 
the Bank Manager in his broadcloth alike knelt at the 
penitent form and found mercy." 

The second Church at Pleasant Creek was of corrugated 
iron but having the front of weatherboard. The Rev. C. 
Lane opened it on February 5th, 1860, it was displaced by a 
better structure of brick at a subsequent date. Another 
Church, this time of wood, was opened at Great Western 
on Sept. 28th, 1862, by Rev. A. Inglis. That has been 
superseded by one of brick, built quite recently. The 


substantial Church at Moyston, of brick, was opened on 
30th March, 1863, and cost £363. 

The Rev. Charles Dubourg succeeded Mr. Woodall, and 
as the strength of the Circuit was at Pleasant Creek, he 
resided there. He was indefatigable in his labours, and could 
report, when he left, some 6 Churches, 50 members, and 700 
adherents. The Rev. Andrew Inglis kept well in the lines of 
his predecessor, but also extended the Circuit, Progress 
was made on the whole, and a second Minister was obtained 
in 1863, in the person of the Rev. Jas. A. Taylor, who lived 
at Ararat. For a season the cause here had been feeble and 
knew many of the fluctuations which marked goldfields' 
history in the early time. In 1863, the congregation had 
no settled home, but worshipped now in one building and 
then in another. Soon after Mr. Taylor's arrival another 
Church was erected which did service until the present 
commodious one of brick was erected in Mr. Pitcher's time. 
The Superintendent for the most part resided at Pleasant 
Creek, but in the early part of Mr. Catterall's term his 
residence was at Ararat. Under that energetic Minister a 
new Parsonage was built at Stawell (formerly Quartz Reefs, 
Pleasant Creek) which then became the permanent residence 
of the Superintendent. In succession to Mr. Inglis were the 
Revs. E. B. Burns, J. Catterall, W. Brown and W. L. 
Blamires as Superintendents. During the latter Minister's 
stay, the Circuit was divided, and Ararat with adjacent places, 
was made an independent Circuit with Rev. Thos. Adamson 
as Minister. The membership for the whole Circuit was 125, 
at the Conferenee of 1863, which had increased to 279, just 
prior to the division of the Circuit in 1876. Messrs. W. 
Brumby and C. C. Forster were active Stewards at Ararat 
before the division, and more recently at Stawell, whilst other 
gentlemen, Messrs. Dash, Hillard, Murton, Dungey, in Ararat, 
M. Lennox, Metcalf and Wilkinson in outlying places, 
have been zealous labourers. Stawell too has been favoured 
with earnest workers in Messrs. Rickard, Lodwick, Stephens, 
Jory, R. Taylor, G. Bond, T. Sussex, T. Hutchings, Dartnell, 


Dalkin, Akins, and has for years past had a flourishing 
congregation and Sabbath School. The residence of Rev. 
Richard Hart and his family for some years has given an 
important addition to the strength and activity of this 
Society. These Circuits have sent three estimable and zealous 
brethren into the ranks of the Wesleyan Ministry, Messrs. 
J. A. Marsland, A. R. Edgar, and R. W. Campbell. 

Horsham. — About 1872, selectors began to occupy the 
pastoral lands around Horsham that had so long been in 
the tenancy of the squatters, and some of the first to do so 
were Wesleyans from the Western District. Messrs. Dyer, 
Chappie, and Leeson were pioneers of the settlement by 
farmers, and of the Methodist cause in the neighbourhood 
of Rupanyup. They had migrated from the Hamilton 
Circuit. A few Wesleyans were residents in Horsham, 
Mrs. Bowden, a sister of the Rev. E. E. Jenkins, M.A., 
Mr. Bond and one or two more, when the Rev. James 
Hillard was sent by the Conference of 1874, to mission the 
field. He did this indefatigably, and made an extensive 
Circuit with preaching stations at Horsham, Rupanyup, 
Murtoa, Kewell, Kalkee, Warracknabeal, die. After a 
year and a half of labour he lost his life by drowning in 
the River Barwon. He was an estimable and devoted 
young man. Active young Ministers succeeded in Messrs. 
A. Powell, J. P. McCann, James Lowe, Wm. Presley, 
R, Thompson, J. Nail, <fec., who worked the ground well, and 
traversed many miles of country and made many a weari- 
some journey to supply the Gospel and Christian ordinances 
to the people. Occupation spread, for the land was found 
very fertile, and grew splendid crops. Soon church after 
church was put up in places where preaching had at first 
been in a cottage or a hall, and at this day three circuits 
have been carved out of the area first covered by the Horsham 
Circuit, those of Horsham, Murtoa, and Warracknabeal. 
This latter place had a few earnest men from the first, who 
had come from the South Coast and Byaduk. Messrs. 
Devereux, S. Clarke, and Hayter resided in the town or 


neighbourhood, and are good men. A promising cause has 
also been formed at Dimboola. The Wesleyan Home 
Missionary Society, sent its agents to the regions between 
Horsham and Dimboola on the east, and the South Austra- 
lian Border on the west, as such districts became gradually 
occupied by selectors. Through the labours of Mr. Lee 
and young Ministers, Messrs. Stafford, Jolly, S. C. Flockart, 
promising stations or circuits have been formed at Clear 
Lakes, Lillimur, Nhill, and Harrow and Apsley, which 
bring our work in touch with that of our Sister Conference 
in South Australia. 



We interweave with our narrative some mention of our 
special missions, the work of Church extension recently 
made within our borders, and of our attitude to other 
Christian workers and societies. At an early date the 
Bethel Flag waved over our Church at Williamstown, and 
instances of benefit derived by seamen from our church 
operations are given in former pages. We have heartily 
supported the Seamen's Mission in the Port of Melbourne, 
of which the Rev. Kerr Johnston was for so many years 
the leading spirit, and of which, at the present time, a 
Wesleyan is the chief agent. Captains M'Callum, Brown, 
and Matthews were warm friends of the sailor, and active 
members of our Church. Two of them gave sons to our 
Ministry. Captain Brown was one of a band of earnest 
men who helped to " build the temple of our God," a temple 
of living stones at Emerald Hill (South Melbourne). The 
writer remembers pulling him through the surf, when his 
ship, the Lady Eobilliard, on her last voyage, came ashore 


on a stormy night at Portland Bay. That Church at 
South Melbourne has had earnest workei's connected with 
it. A former generation, such as Messrs. Bee, Blair, 
Woodfin, Johnson, Elder, Parry, and Morrow have found 
worthy successors in the active men of more recent days, 
who not only sustain their own enterprises at the parent 
Church, but have branched out into new causes at Albert 
Park, Boundary-street, Park-street, and in the mission at 
York-street. There many trophies of grace have been won. 
Mrs. Varcoe, a noble character and active Bible-woman, 
in her unwearied efforts for the upraising and salvation of 
the rougher and vicious classes, both at South Melbourne 
and at Lonsdale-street, Melbourne, has done heroic work 
that would place her name alongside those of Miss Macpher- 
son. Miss Ellice Hopkins, Sarah Martin, and other devoted 
Christian women of the old country. Captain Matthews 
did faithful service at Sandridge (Port Melbourne), where 
our Church was first represented by Messrs. Adam and 
Newman, the latter being now a veteran of over sixty 
years standing as a member, and abiding still at his post. 
These, with others, such as Messrs. Poolman, Francis, etc., 
helped to sustain our cause in the midst of the difficulties 
which too often beset religion in a busy and profligate sea- 
port. Captain Matthews' son is doing good work as the 
founder and manager of the Maloga Mission to the Abori- 
gines on the banks of the River Murray. Our own 
BuNTiNGDALE MISSION to the Aborigines, with which the 
name of the Rev. F. Tuckfield must be ever identified, 
deserves to be held in remembrance as a brave and right 
noble effort for eight patient years to rescue the perishing 
natives, and to " save their souls alive." We can only 
mention it in passing, and must refer our readers to the 
.sketch of the mission published in the Spectator. The 
following are the titles of the chapters, and may indicate 
the scope of the story — " Buntingdale — Previous efforts on 
behalf of the Aboriginals — Origin of the Mission — Rev. J. 
Orton — Outset of the Mission — Rev. F. Tuckfield — Name 


and place — Progress and Encouragement — Incidents and 
Illustrations — Native Language and Customs — Trials and 
Perplexities — Other Schemes — Disappointment and Defeat." 
Missions to the very poor, and to the lapsed masses are 
carried on by Miss Brew and Miss M'Lean in Collingwood, 
and by Miss M'Gahy at Sandhurst. Question may be raised 
whether we have done as much as we ought in utilizing the 
willing services of Christian ladies in our Church, yet we 
have furnished in Mrs. Derrick, Mrs. Williamson, and others, 
godly women who have laboured under the auspices of 
Protestant Mission societies. We have given some agents 
to the Melbourne City Mission, and are in touch and 
sympathy with all well-directed efforts to reclaim the vicious, 
and save the lost. 

Whilst having special agents and special missions, we 
have branched out by ordinary Circuit extension to the 
'greater' Melbourne of to-day, with its spreading suburbs 
radiating and growing in all directions. Carlton Church, 
in its first erection, was opened in January, 1861, with 
Messrs. A. J. Smith and Jones, as its prominent founders. 
The first Church has been displaced by a grander building, 
and the early workers have been succeeded by worthy men 
in Messrs. Cowperthwaite, Middleton, F. and C. Lavers, 
FuUerton, Lewis, and Clowes, who have helped to make 
Carlton a strong cause. Fitzroy has established two new 
and important societies at Nicholson-street, North Fitzroy, 
and at Clifton Hill, with which the names of Messrs. 
Galagher, Guille, Avery, and Abbott are closely identified. 
Sackville-street has, none too soon, built a new and tasteful 
Church, and has had steady servants of Christ and His 
Church in Messrs. Nettleship, Carne, Preston, Latham, 
Fenton, M'Neilance, Graham, and others. Collingwood has 
a fine Church at Gipps-street, the outcome of several small 
causes in the lower part of the city that have been amal- 
gamated. The Church has a large debt, which would have 
been overwhelming (despite noble efforts of the congregation 
to grapple with it), but for large connexional assistance 


rendered. Messrs. Puckey, "Wilson, Hendy, Nicholson, 
and Muntz, with their families, have been strong supporters 
here. The Hotham Society has become numerous and 
flourishing in the course of years, and has offshoots at West 
Melbourne and at Hotham Hill. Messrs. M'Cutcheon, 
Andrews, Butler, Potts, Moran, Buncle, and Edgerton have 
been leading members or adherents in these places. Flem- 
ington, dating from tlie fifties, was, for a long time, a feeble 
cause ; but has recently grown apace, and has a younger 
sister Church at Moonee Ponds so flourishing, tliat she 
promises to outgrow the other. Messrs. Colclough, D. 
Smith, Pearce, Ekman, Edwin Harcourt, and Varey have 
been prominent laymen connected with these Churches. 
They, with Kensington, formed into a Circuit in ISt^S, have 
since made rapid advances. Brunswick and Coburg have 
made steaxly progress since their formation into a Circuit. 
Messrs. Overend, Bedford, Straw, G. B. Wilson, J. Hollo- 
way, and A. Booth have been good supporters. Some are 
removed to heaven ; the survivoi-s are earnest, godly 
men. The mother Church at St. Kilda has a growing 
daughter at Balaclava, which lias come to a strength, 
liberality, and enterprise equal to the elder. Messrs. 
Crouch, M'Cutcheon, and Eggleston are strong names 
here, with good, venerated Father Ironside, a Minister 
in a vigorous old age, e.xercising still a beneficent interest 
in all departments of the work, and in all public questions 
of the day. City ^lethodism, extending her borders, has 
occupied not only the lowlands near the Saltwater and 
Yarra rivers, and the coast of the Bay, but also the rising 
uplands, and pleasant undulating country, which form the 
eastern and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Prahran 
Circuit has stretched out to Armadale and Toorak, and the 
Richmond Circuit has dotted and crowned the pleasant 
hills of Kew, Camberwell, Bo.x Hill, with neat and 
spacious Churches. 

Chinese Mission. — This is another worthy and success 
ful enterprise of our Zion. The mission work amongst the 


Chinese began in Castlemaine under the superintendency of 
the Rev. Thomas Raston. The Rev. Mr. Young, who had 
been a Missionary in China, under the London Missionary 
Society, was sent by a united Committee, to open a mission 
in that town, but he did not stay long, and, we think, was 
discouraged. Mr. Raston, who had the missionary spirit and 
zeal strong within him, when Mr. Young withdrew, took 
the Chinese convert and agent, Leong-a-Toe, under his care, 
and encouraged him to continue the effort, so feebly begun, 
for the Christianizing of his countrymen. The Chairman of 
the District approved, and the Mission committee took the 
new mission under its fostering wing. The various Churches 
nigh to which the Chinese most congregated, were thrown 
open for afternoon service, when they could be gathered 
together. The number varied from twelve to a hundred 
persons. Castlemaine was the central station, where 
service was held regularly, and soon a few began to turn 
from their heathen practices to worship the true and living 
God. Mr, Robinson, with a few young men, Graham, 
Roget, and others would accompany the agent to the 
Chinese camps to distribute tracts and portions of Scripture 
printed in the Chinese characters and language. The 
Chinese appreciated the kindly interest of Europeans in 
their welfare. (See account in Wesleyan Chronicle 1859, 
pages 43-4.) Soon the converts increased in number and in 
enlightenment, so that a few were baptized into the Christian 
Church. At a meeting held in the Wesleyan Church, when 
some of the converts gave testimony of their former beliefs 
and habits and the present change in their views, faith, and 
mode of life, a Chinese merchant from Melbourne acted as 
interpreter. After the meeting, at the supper table where 
the merchant was present, a Christian lady asked him, 
" How is it that you, brought up in a mission school at 
Singapore, are not a Christian 1 The reply was, " Oh, 
ma'am, 'tis very hard to make money and be a Christian." 
Certainly, Mammon and Christ are not reconciled to this 
day as supreme divinities in one and the same heart. 


Durino' the term of ministry of Messrs. Raston and Blamires 
a Chinese Church was built, the first, in Castlemaine, and 
it is believed, on the Australian Continent. The foundation 
stone was laid by E. S. Parker, Esq., who presided at 
the public meeting, when the Church was opened. The 
Rev. D. J. Draper and the Circuit ministers also made 
speeches on the occasion, encouraging the Agent and the 
members to proceed in this mission work. From that time 
onward, a Chinese Catechist or Minister has been stationed 
in Castlemaine, and the Wesleyan Church has had Chinese 
converts to Christianity in membership with her in that 
town and neighbourhood. In the Church at Castlemaine 
Leong-a-Toe had a congregation of about forty hearers. At 
a Missionary meeting on November 16th, he reported that 
amoncrst others, five converts baptized into the Christian 
Church in March previous had continued faithful, and that 
three or four more were nearly ready for that Christian 
ordinance and recognition. A considerable number of the 
Chinese converts returned to China, and of some, tidings 
were heard that they joined the Christian churches in that 
land, or were faithful to Christianity, returning no more to 
the gambling, opium smoking, idol worshipping, and other 
sins of days gone past. Mr. Leong-a-Toe himself returned 
to China about 1865. Under date of October 16th, 1866, 
he addressed a letter fi-ora Canton to the Rev. Edward 
King, then in Castlemaine : — " I have heard from Leong- 
on-Tong a few months ago, and he said that he was engaged 
by the "Wesleyan ministers to carry on the Chinese mission 
at Castlemaine ; and preach the Gospel to my countrymen 

there I expected to get to China, and ask the 

Wesleyan ministers here to send some to go over, if T could 
not return ; but Mr. Piercy could not get any one to go 
over and take charge of the Church, and lately I have heard 
that the Wesleyan Committee had appointed Leong-on-Tong 
to carry on the great work under the care of the Rev. Mr. 
King, so I am glad to give thanks to Almighty God. I 
pray that he may take care of him, and make him useful to 


save souls. I believe he is a faithful servant of Christ, and 
a ffood Chinese scholar. Now, I think that I shall have no 
time to go to Castlemaine again, for I preach at Canton in 
the Mission Hospital, and under the Rev. J. Chalmers and 
Rev. F. Turner of the London Missionary Society. I live 
near Mr. Piercy, about three miles off." Leong-on-Tong is 
well- versed in his language and is of more pleasing features 
and gentlemanly address than any Chinaman the writer has 
known. He continued in Castlemaine as the Chinese agent, 
carrying on the work of Leong-a-Toe, his spiritual father, 
until the year 1879, when he was removed to Melbourne. 
The Rev. Josiah Cox, who had been for years a "Wesleyan 
missionary in China, when he visited the colony in 1871, 
certified to the ability of Leong-on-Tong as a good Chinese 
scholar ; and of the love and ardour with which his spirit 
entered into this earnest endeavour to win to Christianity 
the souls of his countrymen, the following may testify. 
During his probation for the Wesleyan ministry, the writer 
heard him reply to questions put to him by the Chairman of 
the District, the Rev. W. P. Wells—" Do you love the 
Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour 1" asked the Chairman. 
He responded in an unstudied and earnest manner, " With 
all my heart." " Do you love this work of preaching Christ 
to your countrymen ?' "More than life," was his fervid 
reply. Rarely has a probationer for the ministry, of the 
English-speaking race, e\dnced a more single-minded purpose 
to glorify God in preaching the Gospel of His Son. 
Leong-on-Tong could speak English but imperfectly, yet 
after his probation he married a Chinese lady, we 
believe, from Singapore, who could speak English fluently, 
was a fair musician, and was a true help-meet to her husband 
in his home and in his work. Leong-on-Tong was received 
as a probationer in 1872, and to the full ranks of the Wes- 
leyan ministry in 1876. He returned to China in 1885. 

A young minister from Great Britain, Mr. Caldwell, 
came to Victoria, and determined to give himself to the 
Chinese mission. In order to prepare himself in the Ian- 


guage, he went to Canton, and gave himself to study under 
the tuition of the Rev. George Piercy. But his good 
purposes, as well as his life, were brought to an untimely 
end by his death through drowning in the Canton river. A 
promising career was thus sadly closed, and the oversight of 
our Chinese work by a European speaking the Chinese 
language was long delayed. The Church authorities in 
Victoria had besought such aid from the Parent Missionary 
Society in London, their hopes were high when Mr. Cald- 
well came and during liis course of study, but they were 
disappointed and saddened by his sudden removal. Years 
elapsed before the long-wished-for oversight was obtained, 
and then it came through the intelligent devotedness of a 
young Australian. The Rev. Edward Youngman went 
fromGoulburn (N.S.W.) to study under the Wesleyan Mis- 
sionaries in Canton, and, when equipped for his work, took 
the care of the Chinese mission in Victoria, and gave an 
effective oversight to the agents and their operations. Mean- 
while, until he came, the Church used, for the best account, 
the Chinese agents that were at hand. One of the most 
effective of these was found in the Rev. Jas. Moy Ling. His 
labours amongst his countrymen have been very useful, and 
many, by the persuasions of his lips and the earnestness 
of his spirit, were turned from the worship of idols, and 
their pernicious habits of life to serve the living God. 
When the "heathen Chinee" becomes a Christian he 
presents as fair evidence of sincerity, docility, and honest 
virtues springing from love to Christ as do the average 
members of Christian Churches that are of European race. 
Mr. Moy Ling wrought at Daylesford, Castlemaine, and 
Sandhurst. Then for several years he conducted the 
Chinese mission in Melbourne, and was the chief means, in 
conjunction with Mr. S. G. King and Mr. John Wilton, of 
the erection of the Chinese Church in Little Bourke-street, 
Melbourne. As the number of Chinese in the colony had 
decreased, and it was deemed prudent for purposes of 
economy, that the number of Agents should be lessened. 


the Rev. E. Youngman was transferred to New South 
Wales, to which colony also the Rev. Tear Tack, a young 
Chinaman, converted in Victoria, was removed. The Rev. 
Leong-on-Tong preferred to labour in China. The Rev. Moy 
Ling therefore remains at the head of this mission, and is 
assisted by Chinese catechists, stationed at Castlemaine, 
Dunolly, Creswick, and Haddon. The mission increased in 
numbers steadily for some years, but for four or five years 
past has remained about the same, and now reports 8 
Churches 16 Local Preachers, 112 members, and 306 stated 
attendants on public worship. The blessing of this mission has 
extended to adjacent colonies and to some provinces of China. 
South Sea Missions. — Although Victoria is not the 
seat of the executive of our Foreign ^Missionary Society, and 
is more remote from the scene of its operation, yet our 
people have taken a deep and generous interest in it. 
Before the Home mission work arose and, to some extent, 
divided attention, the Missionary meetings were at times 
enthusiastic and the subscriptions very liberal. Distin- 
guished visitors from the old country and from the mission 
lield as the Revs. Dr. Gervase Smith, E. E. Jenkins, Bur- 
gess, Haigh, etc., have kept alive the missionary fire. Our 
Church, too, in this land has furnished a noble army of 
able and self-denying men, who have occupied the high 
places of the mission field. Of these may be mentioned the 
Rev. Lorimer Fison, M.A., now in charge of a Melbourne 
Circuit. Mr. Fison is an accomplished scholar and teacher. 
In conjunction with Mr. Howitt, P.M., he published an 
able work upon the Aborigines of this Continent. It has 
been his high honor and life work to train a long succession 
of Fijian natives for the ministry. He is also an author 
and authority on Fijian languages and customs, and equally 
able and esteemed in colonial Circuit work. Other names 
as Messrs. Carey, Dyson, Lindsay, Langham, Rooney, 
Greenwood, Danks, Bromilow, and Oldmeadow are suggestive 
of abundant labour, honor, and success. These were sent 
forth as missionaries from Victoria, and our Church is proud 


of them ; at the same time we award a due meed of praise to 
those Ministers, Revs. Thos.Williams, Samuel Ironside, John 
Watsford, James S. H. Royce, J. and S. Waterhouse, A. 
Rigg, and Joseph White, sent forth from England or from 
neighboring colonies, who gave the flower of their days and 
their best energies of mind and heart to mission work among 
the Maoris or the South Sea Islanders. 

From an extraneous point of view, our narrative may be 
regarded as somewhat complacent and self-absorbed, in that 
it has taken little account of the other religious forces and 
Christian Churches of the land. But the scope of our plan 
did not allow us this pleasure. Especially would it have 
been grateful to refer to our own kindred, the junior 
branches of the Methodist family, who also have a "story" 
of labour and success to tell, and have done brave and 
faithful service in extending the kingdom of Christ in the 
land. But the exigencies of space forbad it. It has often 
been questioned, whether the direct influence of Methodism 
on the world, or its indirect and collateral influence on the 
Churches has been the greater. It has certainly proved a 
prolific and propagating Church, its " seed is in itself," "its 
branches run over the wall," and it has done much to 
replenish the ranks and pulpits of other Churches, including 
that last development of militant Christianity — the Salva- 
tion Army. It is pretty certain that there are but few 
active Christians and earnest Churches that have not been 
indebted, at some point or other of their history, to the 
influence and example of the Methodist Church. Candid 
and generous observers will accord it merited praise for 
the pioneer work it did in this land. It was usually the 
first in the field, except in the pastoral districts, and with 
" undistinguishing regard" sought to bless and save all 
whom it could reach, of whatever class or creed. Hence 
the mixed and miscellaneous character of our first congre- 
gations. In course of time, many gravitated towards their 
own particular standard whenever it was raised, and were 
distributed among their several ecclesiastical species, grate- 


ful for their temporary accommodation in the Methodist 
Church, though a few were unmindful of it. Imitation is 
said to be the sincerest form of flattery, and many have 
been glad to adopt our methods, and to copy or borrow some 
features in our financial economy, to wit, the provisions of 
our Church Loan, and Infirm Ministers', Funds. It is worth 
a passing glance to note how that Financial Economy has 
been built up. Its present finished form is the result of 
long years of care and pains. There are those whose hands 
and hours have been given without stint to the moulding 
and adjusting of our financial machinery, and who are 
" worthy of double honor." Among these may be men- 
tioned the Rev. J. Cope, who has given years of patient 
and exhausting study, and of Herculean labour to the Super- 
numerary Ministers' Fund; to the Rev. W. P. Wells is due 
the inception of our Loan Fund, a timely substitute for 
State aid, and a lasting boon to our Church; while the Rev. 
W. H. Fitchett deserves the credit of providing a solution 
of the vexed question of the Children's Fund, and his 
simple scheme has been favorably quoted, and, to some 
extent, adopted by our Church in Great Britain. The Rev. 
John Watsford's name must be always identified with our 
Home mission work, the Rev. J. C. Symons' with the subject 
of State education ; the names of the Revs. Dr. Waugh, Dr. 
Watkin, and Messrs. Quick and Fitchett with our Colleges ; 
while a long list of writers, from the Rev. Dr. Waugh, the 
first editor to the present one, have given literary labour to 
the Church, and sought to make our organ, the Spectator, a 
power for good. Our doctrinal position has been unchal- 
lenged, and few cases of heterodoxy have occurred, thanks 
to a bright and definite creed tested by an ample and living 
experience. Our polity has been broadened and strength- 
ened by a larger infusion of the lay element, and by wise 
and liberal legislation. The Rev. Messrs. Symons and 
Wells have been the chief compilers of a handbook of 
Methodist laws, issued under the authority of the General 
Conference. Our Conference was among the first to con- 


sider the question of Methodist Union. A Committee of 
the representatives of all the Methodist Churches was held, 
and a scheme of union was formulated. It has been sifted, 
weighed, and analysed with no very definite result. The 
question of Methodist Union must still be considered an 
open one. Our worship is little changed, except that the 
liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer, which was used in 
our leading Church and a few others, has been discontinued 
in deference to the wishes of a younger generation, but to 
the deep and lasting regret of others of the older school, 
who were accustomed to responsive worship. The craving for 
bright, brisk, brief services, according to the spirit of the age, 
is met in part by Gospel addresses. Evangelistic bands, and 
the singing of Sankey's hymns in addition to our own. 
The itinerancy of our Ministers is still a vital and settled 
part of our system, and, on the whole, was never more 
tenaciously held. A few have grown weary of it and left 
us, whether the change is for the better is doubtful. At 
the same time it must be conceded that the itinerant system 
is not favorable to sustained study and academic distinction 
among our young men. Few of them have been able to 
avail themselves of our University, or pursue an " Arts 
course.' But the intended Affiliated College will, it is 
hoped, do much to remedy this defect. The same itiner- 
ancy may be some bar to local influence and reputation. 
Our Ministers cannot, except in some few instances, be 
specialists, or identify themselves with local objects and 
institutions to the same extent as fixed and permanent 
Ministers, for, as soon as their individualism and influence 
assert themselves, they have to move on to the next Circuit. 
Still many public and philanthropic objects engage the 
sympathies and services of our Ministers and people, as one 
may see by noting the services at gaols, refuges, hospitals, 
asylums, and missions which appear on many of our Circuit 
plans. "What concerns humanity, concerns the Methodist 
family. In any good work carried on, they would lend a 
helping hand. 




We must have some regard to our readers' patience, other-wise 
to what portentous length we might spin out our narrative. 
We have written about the young days of Methodism in 
Victoria, but how little about the young Methodists therein. 
What a fertile theme, their sprightliness, smartness, love 
for indoor lessons and outdoor sports and other character- 
istics ! The work of God amongst them, and our Sabbath 
schools — our model ones, such as Yarra-street, Brunswick- 
street, Lydiard-street ; our large ones in South Melbourne, 
Hotham, Sandhurst ; the good work of the Sunday school 
Union of our Church ; the glad fact that our losses in the 
gap between School and Church are far less than in former 
days, and that now a larger proportion of our scholars are 
serving Christ and doing work for Him than heretofore ; 
what blessed topics for mind and pen ! With a sigh, having 
regard to our limited space, we forbear. 

The employment of lay agents in our Home missions, 
the great successes of the young evangelists who in the last 
two or three years have been so honoured of God in their 
labours :— these too must be reserved for after writers. 

Must nothing be written about Methodism in relation to 
temperance, and literature, and music *? its prayer meetings, 
lovefeasts, class meetings 1 its pulpit power and platform 
oratory 1 its devout sisters, elect ladies, earnest women ? its 
Local Preachers, Home Missionaiues, and Lay agency 1 its 
care of the poor, its relation to Benevolent institutions and 
to other Churches, and similar topics 'i Alas ! only a brief 
mention, where chapters should be written. 

Can a sketch of Victoi'ian Methodism omit an extended 
notice of its distinctive doctrines, or the salient points of 
its Church polity 1 We have only space to record that a 
considerable change took place in the constitution of our 
Church, in the years 1873-5, when general Conferences for 


legislation, and annual Conferences for administration, were 
inaugurated, and a larger introduction of the lay element 
into the higher courts of the Church was made. 

Our Church polity is based upon the New Testament 
recognition of the functions of the pastoral office, combined 
with widening regard for the increasing intelligence, scrip- 
tural rights, and spiritual welfare of the members and 
laity. It is conservative in its tenacious clinging to funda- 
mental principles, but expansive and elastic in its adaptation 
to the varying cii'cumstances, and liberal spirit of the times. 
Happily we have been spared the dissensions which have 
occurred in other lands upon points of Church government, 
and the Methodist polity approves its suitability to the 
people of the Southern world, by growing symmetrically, 
and expanding gradually, without altering its model forms, 
its type, its nature. It has central points, which are 
fixed, yet its boundary lines are not stiff, rigid, unbending 
but elastic, yielding, accommodating. It has wrought well 
for the peace and prosperity for the Church, and the spread 
of godliness in these lands. 

The Methodist Church has been noted for its hearty 
belief in, and earnest clinging to, Arminian views of 
theology in the century and a half of its existence. It has 
had extremely little of heresy to deal with, and is not in its 
doctrine, given to change. This fixity of doctrinal teaching 
is owing largely to the creed fitting so closely to Scripture, 
and standing so well the test of experiment as applied to 
the spiritual needs and aspirations of men. Such facts 
most of our owti writers upon Methodist affairs have 
observed, but it has not been noted as frequently what an 
important influence our itinerancy has had upon similarity 
of doctrinal teaching amongst us. Some one has remarked, 
"It is by fluctuation that all things become fixed, it is by 
restlessness that they become permanent." This is exem- 
plified in the influence of the itinerancy upon the settle- 
ment of doctrine. A man preaching to one congregation 
for many years, may, if he change his own views, gradually 


and almost imperceptibly change theirs. He may lead 
them into by-ways of theology, and mould them after his 
own mind, vagrant or steady as that may be. But a man 
preaching before many congregations is kept to their 
common standard of doctrine, is himself shaped after their 
common standard of thought. He must be very original, 
and determined, to alter the views of many intelligent con- 
gregations, unless his views are demonstrably much nearer 
the truth than theirs. Any variation from accepted doc- 
trine which may pass with one congregation will not pass 
without comment and criticism before many similar assem- 
blies. He will find the many will not tolerate the vagaries 
which the one may. This, with the annual examination of 
Ministerial character and belief taking place in the District 
meeting and Conference, accounts largely for the fixity of 
doctrine and teaching in the Wesleyan Church. Strong 
men, and subtle minds therein, such as Dr. Clarke and Dr. 
Pope, have alone been sufiered to difier, and that only in 
minor points, from the accepted standards of truth and 
doctrine, and these have scarcely inoculated two men 
besides with their peculiar views. The neat, orderly type 
of Wesley has stamped itself upon his followers, his conser- 
vative yet free spirit, holding fast by old landmarks, but 
open to conviction and slowly adapting new measures, 
works in them still. And his system of itinerancy, bring- 
ing new Ministers interchangeably to work with new 
colleagues, and to appear before many congregations, is 
likely to work for many generations to come in fixing the 
grand old Methodist doctrines in the heads, hearts, and 
experiences of both Ministers and people. 

Good and well adapted as may be the Church polity and 
administration, and scriptural as may be the doctrine, they 
avail little without the spirit of piety. This record goes to 
show that the leaven of an active cheerful godliness has 
wrought in the Methodist Church, that the spirit of a 
hopeful aggressive Christianity has inspired her labours, 
and brought about her successes. Scriptural holiness is the 


test of a rising or falling Church, more even than the 
doctrine of justification by faith, and other cardinal truths. 

The Methodist Church is a growing one, and it will 
grow, through God's blessing, long as the spirit of scriptural, 
experimental, and practical Christianity is cherished therein. 

We are apt at times to speak highly of the influence for 
good which our beloved Methodism has been in the world, 
and so that we do not vainly and vaingloriously boast 
thereof, we have right and reason to speak of her position 
and power. For Methodism has inscribed her name, not 
only upon the surface, but upon the heart of society. 
Under God, she is affecting for good the institutions of the 
age, and helping to mould the character of the people. The 
pulsations of her religious life, like the lifeblood coursing 
through the arteries and veins, are felt to remote extremi- 
ties. In the place of her birth she has made a noble stand 
for truth, and occupies that foremost position in every good 
work which makes her to be praised of good men, and she 
has spread out her children to many continents of the earth 
and islands of the sea. God can do without her, but not 
man. "Were her agencies removed, her peculiar institutions 
set aside, her light extinguished, and her members lost to 
the Church of Christ, a great void would be made in that 
Church, and a great desolation in the earth. God, employ- 
ing secondary means out of the exuberance, not out of any 
poverty of His resources, and having the choice of means, 
can at any time raise up a religious body, marked by an 
active and aggressive Christianity ; but the Church itself 
can ill spare any zealous body of Christians, or any section 
thereof, that is living and working for the glory of Christ. 

God has blessed and is blessing the institutions and 
agencies of Methodism to the salvation of men ; and whilst 
we hold fast pure and undefiled religion, we believe that a 
great work and blessed destiny await us in the future. 

The providence of God has raised us up as a Church, 
and brought us together as a people, for some high and 
gracious purpose in the extension of His kingdom on earth. 


We mark this wonderful providence in the history of the 
colony. He did not design that the wide pastures and 
extensive tracts of land in this beauteous and diversified 
country should be ever the roaming haunts of the emu, or 
the feeding-ground of the kangaroo. " The earth hath He 
given to the children of men." He fitted it up for their 
habitation, and spread it out as goodly land for their posses- 
sion ; and when men were slow to colonize, or when a few 
would fence the land in as an immense domain for the 
settler and his sheep, then, by causing the discovery of the 
■wondrous deposits of gold that had for ages been hid in the 
bowels of the earth, He drafted off the needy, adventurous, 
and enterprising myriads of other lands, so that this land 
should be replenished with a numerous and increasing 
population, and the field for industry and civilization which 
it presents should be well occupied by a thriving and 
energetic people. Providence has brought from various 
continents and climes a large body of men of diflferent 
races, and speaking different languages (but with the 
Anglo-Saxon vastly predominating in speech and blood), so 
as to form one homogeneous mass, and be blended into one 
great nation which should be in the van of all true progress 
in the southern world. And the same wise and good 
Providence has brought and is welding together, in order 
to make the distinctive and flourishing Methodism of 
Victoria, representatives from many families of the human 
race. Our local Methodism has combined in it the vivacity 
and wit of the Irish, the shrewdness of the Scotch, and the 
manly perseverance of the English ; the robust steadiness of 
the German and the Dane (strange to say, an American is 
a rarity amongst us), with a fair sample of what we may call 
native growth, distinguished, perhaps, like mercury among 
the metals, for its small attachment for any one place, and 
its ready amalgamation with any other people. Amongst the 
English, or those of English extraction, we have the fervour 
of the Yorkshireman, the steadiness of the Northumbrian, 
the liberality of the Londoner, the impulsive heartiness of 


the Cornisli, the independence of those from the North, the 
docility of those from the South of England, the plodding 
habits of men from the East, combined with the fire and 
zeal of those from the West. Such are the elements making 
tip Victorian Methodism ; and we believe that to this 
Ohurch a noble duty and destiny are allotted by Divine 

Our Church's duty is to lay well and soundly the foun- 
dations of Methodism, and to be diligent pioneers of 
spiritual work in all parts of the colony ; to make right 
materials for history ; to exemplify a beautiful, beneficent, 
and spiritual piety which shall be a pattern to those who 

"We cannot point back to any antiquity as a people or 
Ohurch in this land. We cannot refer with reverence to 
any sanctuary of centuries ago, as " our holy and our beau- 
tiful house, where our fathers praised Thee." We cannot 
say in relation to any work of God in this land, dating 
from ages back, whose blessed fruits have descended to us, 
" Other men laboured," and we are " entered into their 
labours." No grey fathei's of bygone generations are looking 
down upon us. We are but as of yesterday. Our lineage 
is a short one ; our history, as yet, but a brief one. We 
have no venerable piles, no ancient temples bearing upon 
them the grey moss of time ; no classic or sacred spots that 
we can visit, where noble deeds or noble names associated 
with them come crowding in upon the memory or mind, 
and make us feel that we tread as on hallowed ground. 
We are young. We have everything to create. We look 
as young hopefuls to the futui-e, rather than as grey-beards 
who recall and rehearse the facts of the past time. 

We accept the responsibilities of the position. We 
may be tremulous as we feel our weakness, and in 
some degree reaUze the issues which depend on our right 
conduct ; nevertheless, we look to God to strengthen and 
aid us, to work in us and work by us for the establishment 
of a vigorous and aggressive Church, which shall be a 


blessing to thousands yet unborn, and whose right influence 
shall be felt in every corner of the land. 
A poet has said — 

" 'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore, 
And coming events cast their shadows before." 

We might alter and accommodate these lines to our circum- 
stances, and say — 

" 'Tis the sunrise of life makes historical lore, 
And coming events cast their shadows before." 

When a people or nation is young, it supplies choicest 
materials for history. The transactions of its early days 
■will be most often recounted, and will stand out very 
prominent landmarks in the field of the mind's vision or 
remembrance. The facts of its young life also are pregnant 
with the character of its future. They cast the mould, or 
give shape or form to that body of facts which will compose 
its subsequent history. They shadow forth the substance 
which is coming after. 

The shadow, whilst it gives an outline of, is by no 
means so beautiful as the substance. The shadow of a 
flower, dim and black, is no where so fair as the flower 
itself in its variegated and harmonized colours and beautiful 
array. The shadow of a man is sombre, and oft distorted 
in figure, as compared with the " lord of creation " in hia 
erect stature, noble form, and bright and manly countenance. 

So we would like to prophecy and promise that the 
buildings of the past, good as are some of them, are but poor 
and dull shadows of the noble edifices which are to follow ; 
and the religious prosperity with which we have been 
favoured in the past, we trust is but a dim shadow of 
the mighty things which God shall accomplish for us in 
the future. 

We are no seers that can foretell the future in precise 
terms ; we cannot peer down its dark and receding vistas, 
and tell what is coming. Still, with an ordinary amount of 
sagacity, we may augur somewhat of the future from the 
character of the present. 


Were it too bric^lit a vision to foresee, were it too great 
a joy to predict, that we shall have in this land Churches 
which, in their ample size, neat appearance, fair propor- 
tions, and adaptations to the purposes of worship, shall be 
second to none around ; ordinances that shall be wells of 
salvation to a thirsty people ; pastors full of faith and 
the Holy Ghost ; leaders, local preachers, and officers 
baptized with the spirit of holiness ; and members growing 
in intelligence, concord, and piety ; that such days of 
grace will come to us as will crowd the houses of God and 
the means of grace with devout worshippers, so that there 
shall be " added to the Church daily such as should be 
saved V and that in all things lovely and of good report, 
and in whatsoever tends to the temporal, social, and moral 
elevation of the people and the glory of God, Victorian 
Methodism shall for ages have a foremost place? "The 
Lord of your fathers make you a thousand times so many 
more as ye are, and bless you, as He hath promised you." 

Whilst leaving out many records, and touching lightly 
upon others, nevertheless we have given the chief facts and 
incidents of our " story." Fifty years is but a short span 
in the life of nations, and yet what progress do those years 
cover in young and nascent communities like our own. 
The ordinary observer will look at our material progress 
and say, " what hath mem wrought T In a circuit now 
intersected by railways and telegraphs, it is hard to realize 
that the preacher, still living, had to find his way from one 
place to another by a plough furrow driven through the 
virgin bush ; and in a city where the electric light, clear as 
crystal, cheats the night, it is hard to realize the vocation 
of the young son of the chapel-keeper of old Collins-street 
Wesleyan chapel, scarcely now past the prime of life, who 
was then candle-snufFer to the congregation, and three 
times in the service had to decapitate the tallow dips which 
did duty in those dark ages. But the Christian observer 
as he calls to mind the temples, institutions, and li\dng 
forces of the Methodist Christianity of to-day, and contrasts 


them with the small beginnings of Mr. Orton's day, will 
exclaim with humble and adoring gratitude, " What hath 
God wrought / " 

Looking at the mighty Methodism, typified or illustrated 
by the series of Jubilee meetings held in Wesley Church 
and in the Exhibition Building, Melbourne, in May, 1886, 
so crowded, enthusiastic, liberal, so full of grateful ardour, 
so jubilant with joyous song, so marked with the presence 
and power of the Spirit of God, presenting such marshalled 
hosts of 2000, 5000, and over 10,000 persons, young and 
old, convened in the several assemblies, and comparing such 
with the seven members under Mr. Witton's care in 1837, 
and with the small company that heard the first sermon 
from Mr. Orton, we thankfully acknowledge God's exceed- 
ing goodness, in the past and present, to this section of His 
Church. We give all praise to His name ; we lay all the 
trophies at His feet. " It is the Lord's doing, and marvel- 
lous in our eyes." " Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, 
but unto Thy name give glory." 

We are nearing the close of our story. The reader has 
kept our company so far. Before we part, may the hope be 
indulged, that this account will prove of some permanent 
benefit, as well as of mere passing interest to our companions. 

The writer of this paragraph was once the escort to a 
young maiden during a ride through the " Stony Rises," 
between Colac and Camperdown. We were seated at the 
top of the coach, and were driving along a road, firm, 
narrow, winding, serpentine, amongst the deep hollows and 
swelling hillocks which there abound ; the coach swaying to 
and fro as we went up one rise or down another, around 
one sharp curve, and in view of others, until our motion 
reminded him of the eccentric figures on the ice, and the 
graceful oscillations of the body which the skater makes. 
The scenery was novel and picturesque, and such as the 
young lady had not set eyes on before. Our track was 
amongst a labyrinth of rough boulders, miscellaneous heaps 
of rock, dark masses of basalt, pitched down in great 


disorder, but these had intermingled with them the tall 
bracken and smaller species of fern. Green grass was 
interspersed amongst the stones, and spread over the 
hollows. Gems of wild flowers were scattered here and 
there. In places, such as small swamps, and pools of water^ 
aquatic plants were laying out their broad leaves, and 
lifting up their tiny beauteous flowers. As we rode on, we 
had glimpses now and then of a settler's house, a farmer's 
clearing, and of the grand volcanic hills in the distance, 
covered to their tops with emerald verdure. The ' air was 
crisp and clear, and the sky was a translucent blue, flecked 
with fleecy clouds. It was a sunbright spring morn. The 
lady's face was radiant with joyous health ; and animated 
with lovely human life. Her spirits were exhilarated by 
the invigorating breezes and the morning ride. Her com- 
panion's hope had been that she would be pleased with the 
scene and the journey, and he confesses to some quickened 
feeling of joy when she said in her simplicity, " Oh ! I like 
this ; it is delightful !" He was well repaid for any pains 
he had taken to bring the lady thither, to point out any 
objects of interest, and contribute to her enjoyment of the 
day and the drive. Now, a work of art is inferior to the 
grandeur and beauty of nature, and cannot so well please 
the observer ; this writing by man cannot vie with that 
pencilling by nature ; but, though it be egotism to say so, 
if some share of pleasure and educating process fall to the 
courteous reader as was given that morning to the gentle 
maiden, than the writers will be amply rewarded. They 
have conducted you on a track which lies through heaps of 
material piled together in manuscripts, memoranda, news- 
papers, printed volumes that lie before and around them. 
They have swerved now to one subject, then to another, 
conveying you along no direct, but a winding path ; but it 
may be in a highway of narrative that has made clear the 
events of past years, that were at first jumbled before their 
minds, but have come into some shape and order as they 
have gone on. Few picturesque heights of description can 


they point to, but if some connected view of the times, 
events, and places through which we have been passing, be 
given, and any simple expression of your approval be won, 
than the journey together will be a sunny memory with 
them, and they will be fully repaid for any pains they have 
taken to be your companions and guides. 

Be this so or not, both writers may testify that their 
work has been undertaken con amove, as being to themselves 
a pleasing study of God's handiwork, bringing a quickened 
adoration of Him whose redemptive love is shown forth in 
human salvation, and inspiring them as they see His works 
to sing His praise. It is offered to the Wesleyan Church as 
a memorial of her worthy past, and as a dim prophecy of 
her grander future. It is placed before the Methodist 
public as some humble text book for their chorus of praise 
to Almighty God, and a monument of that Jubilee of joy, 
thanksgiving, and work which marks this year of grace 
1886. " According to Thy name, O God, so is Thy praise 
unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of 
righteousness. Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters 
of Judah be glad, because of Thy judgments. Walk about 
Zion, and go round about her : tell the towers thereof. 
Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that 
ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God 
is our God, for ever and ever." Psalm xlviii., verses 10-14. 

We could wish the volume to be some legacy to after 
generations. If our "story" should endear to the Method- 
ist family, the traditions of their Methodist home, and lead 
to a juster appreciation of its privileges and benefits, and 
a greater interest in its prosperity, our work will not be 
in vain. May the dying words of our founder, " the best 
of all is, God is with us," be our living experience from 
generation to generation, and " that which was made 
glorious" in the past, have no glory, by reason of " the glory 
that excelleth," in our future history. 








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Rise of British Methodism— Australian and Victorian 
Methodism ... ... ••• ••• ^'^'^ 

CHAPTER n. Foundation. 

Early Settlement in Victoria— :SIr. Reed— Rev. J. Orton 
— Arrival— Fii-st Service— Regard for Aborigines— Mel- 
bourne Methodism— First class— Sabbath school — Revs. 
F. Tucklieldand B. Hurst— Messrs. Parker and Dredge- 
First Cliurch— Mr. Orton's Second Visit— First Missionary 
Meetinir— Rev.W. Simpson's Visit — Mr. Orton's Pastorate 
—Treatment of Natives— First Quarterly Meeting— Mr. 
Orton's Departure — First Lay Helpers ... ... 12-32 

CHAPTER III. First Advances. 

Inner and Outer Life of Christians— Rev. S. Wilkinson— 
Collins-street Church— Mr. Dredge in Geelong— Interior 
of Methodist Homes— Rev. W. Schofield— Revival— Rev. 
E. Ssveetman— Rev. W. Lowe— Messrs. Symons and 
Flockart— Newtown (Fitzroy)— Rev. N. Turner— Rev. 
J. Harcourt— Sketch of Mr. Sweetman ... ... 32-45 

CHAPTER IV. Transition. 

New Period— Rev. W. Butters— Day schools— First Dis- 
trict Meeting— Labour of Local Preachers- Gold Dis- 
covered—Immigration — Excitement — Social Convulsions 

New Efforts for New Circumstances- Mr. Buuters' 

Letter— Commercial Aspects— Second District Meeting — 
Immigrants Home — New Churches ... ... 45-61 

CHAPTER V. Gold and Change. 

Rev. R. Young — Projected Conference — Arrival of 
English Ministers— Third District Meeting— Reports of 
Churches— Departure of Revs. F. Lewis and E. Sweet- 
man — Stations — Arrival of other Ministers from England 
-Foremost Laymen— Rev. J. Eggleston — Rev. J. W. 
Crisp — The Church's Beneficial Influence ... ... 61-70 

CHAPTER VI. Extension. 

First Australasian Conference— Rev. D. J. Draper— Rev. 
J. C. Symons— Second Conference — Reinforcement of 
Minsters— Numbers — Day schools— Officials— Revs. W. 
L. Binks and W. P. Wells— Young Ministers— Rev. J. S. 


Waugh — Wesleyan Chronicle — Book Depot — Bazaar for 
Wesley College — New Churches — Wesley Church ... 70-81 

CHAPTER VII. Precursors of Revival. 

Fresh Ministers, English and Colonial — Other Laymen— 
Eev. Dr. Jobson — Rev. E. E. Jenkins — Other additions 
to the Ministry— Rev. W. Hill— Death of Eev. W. 
Tregellas— Rev.T. Taylor — Rev. J. Odgers — Jubilee of 
Missionary Society .. . ... ... ••• 81-89 

CHAPTER VIII. Revivals. 

Those in Other Lands— Influx and Exodus of Population 
— Revival at Brighton— In Melbourne Circuits— At Drys- 
dale, Geelong— Rev. Joseph Dare— Revivals, Scriptural, 
Reasonable — Mr. M. Burnett — Rev. W. Taylor — In 
Wesley Church and other Churches— Revival in Wil- 
liamstown — Converts — Success amongst Seamen — 
Revivals Defended— Mr. E. Stranger — Ministerial 
Fruits— Rapid Strides ... — ... 89-106 

CHAPTER IX. Church Institutions, Movements, 
Memorials, (1863-85.) 
Formation of Three Districts — Education— State Action 
—Wesley College— Rev. Dr. Waugh— Death of Rev. D. J. 
Draper— Rev. W. H. Fitchett— Methodist Ladies' College 
—Rev. B. Field— Sunday school Union— Wesleyan Home 
Missions— Rev. John Watsford— Ministers and Laymen 
of Recent Times ... ... ... •.• 106-115 

CHAPTER X. Suburban Methodism. 

Williamstown — Brighton — Dandenong — Brunswick — 
Coburg, etc. — Former Pentridge Circuit — Kilmore — 
Preston and Heidelberg— Emerald Hill— Prahran, St. 
Kilda— South Melbourne— Richmond— Hawthorn .. 115-137 

CHAPTER XL Geelong and Ballarat District. 

Geelong— First Services— Rev.Mr. Skevington— Messrs. 
Smith and Sanderson— First Church— Mr. Dredge— Mis- 
sionary Meeting — Yarra-street Church — Successive 
Ministers— Rev. I. Harding — New Churches— Sabbath 
schools— Grandfather Lowe— Elect Ladies— COLAC— 
Ballarat— Early Times— First Class— First Sermons- 
First Churches and Officials— Schools— Progress— Rev. 
T. Taylor— Quarterly Meeting Records— Rev. Mr. Bick- 
ford— Creswick- Rev. J. G. Millard— Rev. Dr. Waugh— 
Conference — Creswick — Clunes — Egerton — 
Melton — Scarsdale & Linton — Converts — Reverses 137-160 

CHAPTER XII. Castlemaine & Sandhurst District. 
Forest Creek- Discovery of Gold — First Services— Local 
Preachers— Rev. J. C. 'Symons— Mr. Chapman— Early 
Incidents— First Plan and Church— Rev. W. P. Wells 
Castlemaine Church— Fryer's Creek— Rev. J. Mewton 

Rev. T. Raston— Rev. W. L. Blamires— Sabbath's 

Experience — Training Ground of Ministers— Active Lay- 
men—New Churches — Physical Toils and Hardships — 
Tea Meetings— Later Ministers— Strength of Circuit 160-186 


CHAPTER XIII. Maldon, Mabtborough and 
Adjacent Circuits. 

Maldox — First Services — Mr. Boots — Mr. 'Warnock — 
Rev. H. Chester— James Jeffrey — Illustrations — Rev. W. 
VYoodall— Rev. G, B. Richards— Rev. J. C^atterall— New- 
Church — Revival — Maryborough — Alma — Jeffrey — 
Rev, M. Dyson — Rev. B. J?. Walker— Local Preachers 
— Rev. J. Albiston — Rev. W. Woodall — Progress — Other 
Ministers— AvocA — Talbot ... ... ... 18(5-205 

CHAPTER XIV. Sandhurst Circuit. 

First Agents and Services — Revival at White Hills — 
Rev, R. Young — Sandhurst and Eaglchawk Churches — 
Officials and Classes — Difficulties — Rev. T. Raston — Rev. 
J. Dare — Colleagues — Now Churches — Rev. J, Bickford 
— Other Superintendents — Junior Ministers — Mr,Hooper 
and other Laymen ,,, ,., ... ... 205-228 

CHAPTER XV. Kyneton and Daylesford Circuits. 

Kyneton — Messrs, Mewton, Chester, and Catterall — 
Buildines — Laymen — Mrs, Watson — Daylesford — 
First Visits — Rev, S, Knight — Rapid Progress — New 
Church— Ministers— Blackwood ... ... 228-233 

CHAPTER XVI. The Dunolly and Tarnagulla, and 
Inglewood Circuits. 

Mr. Falder — Churches at Tarnagulla — Places Occupied — 
Rev. J. Mewton — Dunolly — Mr Hansford — Wedder- 
bum — Mr. Bunting — Inglewood — Other Agents ... 233-241 

CHAPTER XVII. Northern Areas. 

The St. Arnaud, Charlton, Echuca & Other Circuits. 
St. Arnaud — First Efforts — Slow Advance — Swift Pro- 
gress — Charlton — Echuca — Kyabram — Kerang — 
Raywood, and Elmore ... ... ... 241-247 

CHAPTER XVIII. Gippsland District. 

Comparison. Then and Now — Riv. J. Bickford's Visit — 
First Church in Sale— Port Albert and Yarram 
Yarram — Walhalla — Upland and Lowland — Home 
Missions— Warragul ... ... ... 247-251 

CHAPTER XIX. Western District. 

Portland — Early Settlement — First Methodist — Narra- 
wong and Bridgewater — First Sch.wl and Church — Suc- 
cessive Jlinisters — Rev. F. Tuckfield — New Church — 
Rev. J. B. Smith — Drik Drik and Heywood — Belfast 
— Rosebrook — Jlr. WatsoTi — Churches in Belf.ost — Yam- 
buk, Koroit, Kirkstall — Warrn.ambool — First Laymen 
— Ministers — Dennington — Clmrohes, Warrnambool and 
Wangoom — Hamilton — First Visits — First Ministers 
— Union Churches — Revs. W. L. Blamires and R. M. 
Hunter — Land Racket — Byaduk and John Smith — Active 
Ministers and Laymen — Mortlake — Penshuest — 
Merino ... ... ... ... ... 251-273 


CHAPTER XX. Ovens and Murray District. 

Beechwokth, Town and District — Squatters and 
Diggers— First Methodists and Services— Mr. C.Williams 
— Mr, Butters' Visit— Rev. J. C. Symons' Journeys and 
Pastorate — Subsequent Ministers — Yackandandah — 
Albury — Growler's Creek — Wangaratta — Benalla and 
Shepparton ... ... ..• ••• 273-285 

CHAPTER XXI. North-Western Circuits. 

Ararat — First Events — Fluctuation — Pleasant Crock 
(Stawell)— Rev. W. Woodall— Rev. C. Dubourg— Rev. 
A. Ingiis — Mr. Middleton— Moyston and other places 
— Superintendents — Division of Circuit— Laymen — Rev. 
R. Hart- Horsham— Other Circuits and Stations ... 285-291 

CHAPTER XXII. Missions & Miscellaneous. 

Missions to Seamen — Suburban Melbourne — Bible 
Women and City Missions — Mission to Chinese — South 
Sea Missions— Relations to other Churches— Connesional 
Finance — Methodist Union — Doctrine— Polity— Laws 
— Worship — Itinerancy ... ... ••• 291-302 

CHAPTER XXIII. Conclusion. 

Methodist Youth and Sunday schools— Other Fertile 
Topics — Church Doctrine and Polity— Spiritual Life- 
Influence of Methodism — God's Providence towards 
Her— Church's Duty and Prospects as to Past, Present, 
and Future — Jubilee time contrasted with former days 
—Feeling and hope of the writers in constructing and 
publishing this work ... ... ••• 303-313 

Appendix, Table A— Church Returns ... ... 311 

„ „ B — Statistics of Population ... 315 

Table of Errata ... ... ... ••• End. 






line 3, 


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for " Sandridge " read " Lower Yarra." 
for " I " read " We." 
for "the" read " a." 
for "Stephenson" read " Stephinson." 
should begin " to the place of prayer-" 
erase " like " at the end. 
for " prepares " read " prepare." 
for " Cornshmen " read " Comishmen." 
for " Represetative" read "Representative." 
leave out " then." 

for " Moorhouse " read " Moorhead." 
for " J " Harding read " I " Harding, 
for " Persley" read " Presley." 
read "amount of £17 was collected." 
for " Tenby " read " Temby." 
for" 1817" read "1815." 
for "1880" read "1877." 
for " Isarel " read " Israel." 
leave out " no." 

instead of " the present site " read " that." 
for " dignatories " read " dignitaries."' 
for " have " read " having." 
for "mentiened " read " mentioned." 
for " was" read " were." 
after " School " insert " house." 
for " Tregellis " read " Tregellas." 
for " Ivan " read ".Joan." 
after " Tasmania " insert " and." 
for " Sunday " ; read " Saturday." 
instead of "for;the Church" read "of the 


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